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101 Dalmations

Score: 80%
Rating: G
Publisher: Walt Disney Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 103 Mins.
Genre: Comedy/Family
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
           Sound, French and Spanish
           Language Tracks


  • Theatrical Trailers

Man, I forgot how well Glenn Close plays crazy. 101 Dalmatians is the live action recreation of the classic Disney animated movie of the same name. While there are a few differences between the 1961 cartoon and the 1996 film, the story itself is very much intact, as well as many of the same scenes.

The main and most notable difference between the two is the fact that the live action version has been updated to modern times. Instead of a jingle writer, Roger (Jeff Daniels) designs and develops videogames (that look an awful lot like the original cartoon movie), and Anita (Joely Richardson, Nip/Tuck) works for Cruella De Vil (Close) as a fashion designer. When Anita creates a coat inspired by her Dalmatian, Perdy, De Vil gets an eerie air about her as her desire for anything fur comes out in extreme.

That afternoon, Anita and Perdy go for a walk in the park, but this time in the sun is cut short when Roger (and his Dalmatian, Pongo) crash into them. Pongo got a good look at Perdy and got a bit overzealous. The four fall head over claws in love and it isn't long before Anita and Roger are married and Pongo and Perdy have their litter of 15 puppies.

Cruella's desire to make the spotted coat that Anita designed has her hire two henchmen, Jasper (Hugh Laurie, House) and Horace (Mark Williams, the Harry Potter series). The 15 puppies, plus the other 84 that were previously stolen make just enough fur for Cruella's coat, but what the trio don't expect is the sheer tenacity of these 99 puppies, dogs from around the neighborhood, and Pongo and Perdy's desire to get the kids back.

In a series of events that feel like classic Home Alone moments (which isn't surprising considering John Hughes wrote both), the dogs escape, Horace, Jasper and Cruella all end up much the worse for wear, and Roger ends up selling a videogame inspired by the adventure that allows them to buy a Dalmatian Plantation so that they, their new kid, and their 101 Dalmatians can live happily ever after.

This was my first time seeing this movie since it left the theaters over a decade ago, and it was nice to see that the film was just as enjoyable now as it was then. Even though the setting was modernized, the story itself is timeless. Fans of the film looking to show it to their own puppies should definitely look into 101 Dalmatians, even though the lack of any real special features is a little discouraging.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

DVD Movies 101 Dalmations II: Patch's London Adventure - Special Edition DVD Movies 102 Dalmations

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated