Is the new live action Disney film ok for children? Cruella Movie Review | Safe for Kids, an honest parent guide to the 101 Dalmatians prequel release starring Emma Stone. No spoilers! #Cruella
Cruella Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
It’s been 60 years since Disney’s animated film, 101 Dalmatians. But as cute as those spotted pups are, the world has fallen for a darker kind of animal. A sinister delight, notoriously evil, and stylish to boot, Disney’s Cruella has teased a dark, twisted and intense origin film for the Disney villains lover. But has Emma Stone gone off the deep end with her character, a prequel a little too diabolical for children to see?
In this Cruella Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, we are breaking down the visuals, the story, the PG-13 rating for violence, adult themes and language, the kids age rating recommendation and if I will be allowing my little ones (puppies included) to watch this film in this no spoiler parent review. All wrapped in chiffon for a complete parent guide, this no spoiler review is a FIRST for this mama movie critic.
If you were to label Cruella as a movie full of smoke and mirrors, you wouldn’t be wrong. Dark theming from the very beginning, the devil is in the details. The visual department does not disappoint, as we are all blinded by the fashion show spread before us. CGI animals combine with visually appealing style on-screen. Dark Disney magic at it’s finest.
If Project Runway and Harley Quinn made a movie…
Ok, but seriously, there’s something fascinating about a villain backstory. A fall from grace? A wrong turn? Or in the blood? Cruella’s story plot is not without some flaws in the fabric. Having gone through 6 writers on one project, the lengthy 2 hour and 14 minute film does seem a little excessive for one prequel. But if Cruella’s story is full of smoke and mirrors, it’s certainly entertains along the way.
With all-star casting of Emma Stone and Emma Thompson, aka Emma squared, the plot flaws fade into the background as the sequins sparkle and the tulle is puffed. The dynamic between these two ladies is chemistry beyond art. Then you lace the film with dark humor, a few chase scenes, a thirst for revenge, a runway show, and even a few plot hole nods to the original animated film, time flies when you’re having diabolical fun. It’s edgy, sinister, punk rock with female empowerment. Be sure to stick around for the one end credit scene.
That PG-13 Rating
Is Cruella kid friendly? For perspective, the last PG-13 live action Disney film was the Mulan remake in 2020. As you know, I am highly skeptical of all MPAA ratings (um hello, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not disclosing any language??). As we know, not all movie ratings these days are the same. With ratings unpredictable these days, PG rating oscillating between Incredibles 2 intense and Christopher Robin calm, having fully disclosed parent guidelines can be helpful in determining if a movie is safe for your whole family to watch – and worth paying the extra $29.99 to see. Is this Cruella Movie Review | Safe for Kids? Parents should be concerned.
Why is Cruella rated PG-13? For the third time in Disney live action history, Cruella is rated PG-13 for “thematic elements, some violence.” But is this dark film darker in more ways than one? Is Cruella safe for kids to see? Or should we be worried about this PG-13 movie rating?
Language. Cruella is proof that you can have an evil trope label and STILL be successful without the need for swear words. There are absolutely zero profanities to be found in this live action Disney film. That is a feat unto itself. But truly, I found this a surprising triumph for this darker Disney movie.
Violence. Fist fighting, bullying, caning (as in being hit with a cane), and CGI animal cruelty are present in this film. There’s also a moment with a bloody cut and arson. While used mostly to build up Cruella’s character, it’s not a recurring violent theme throughout the film. But, there’s definitely enough violence sprinkled in for audiences to get the gist. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there were no excessive moments of blood and gore.
Adult Themes. But the most surprising part of this PG-13 rating is the understated and yet OVER abundance of adult themes throughout this film. Death, grief, revenge, mayhem for starters. But thievery, heavy alcohol consumption, and a shocking initial scene of the film (hey, I said no spoilers!), also play a huge part in the more mature rating of this film.
What Cruella Age Rating Is Recommended for Kids?
Is Cruella safe for kids? At 2 hours and 14 minutes long, there’s a lot of backstory and dialogue to cover. Wordy at times with an English accent, young kids may have trouble sitting still for some of the slower moments of the film. Combine that with the dark overtones that could be easily compared to the Maleficent movies, and scenes that can be intense, even scary for young ones, Cruella is a lot of film to take in for children.
So what age rating is recommended for Cruella? You may be surprised. While rated PG-13, I do feel that this PG-13 rating was a little heavy handed for this 2021 film. Perhaps because of the Premier Access streaming at home on Disney+, I see Cruella more towards the Maleficent PG than a Pirates of the Caribbean PG-13, or even Mulan PG-13. Without excessive bloodshed, gore, killings, or skeletons even, it does tone down some of the overt “dark theming” reality of Cruella. I think my 8-year old daughter could handle this one. Therefore, I recommend Cruella for mature kids age 9-10 and up.
Glamorous costuming, special effects, and even a few chase scenes, it’s a wickedly fun ride from beginning to end – complete with an edgy soundtrack. While a little on the long side, the Emma squared team does not disappoint. It’s within the prequels that we get a glimpse of the human within the villain, and within ourselves.
Is Cruella worth paying for? Depends on how long you want to avoid the spoilers. While Disney+ Premier Access only seems to last a few months (with rumors that it go away soon), Cruella is no Raya and the Last Dragon. Just saying. However, it’s the prequel that we didn’t know that we needed. And Disney does a good job making bad look so glamorous.
Follow Cruella on social:
- Website: https://movies.disney.com/cruella
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyCruellaDeVil
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/cruella
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneycruella/
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Disney’s Cruella is releasing in theaters and digitally on Disney+ with Premier Access on Friday May 28, 2021. Will your family be watching this notorious villain prequel?
I was invited to screen this film in exchange for this Cruella Movie Review | Safe for Kids? All photos courtesy of Disney. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!