The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.
After a wild chase in the bustling streets of London, the struggling computer game author, Roger, and his male Dalmatian pet, Pongo--by a welcome twist of fate--are dragged into St. James Park and meet with the charming fashion designer, Anita, and her female Dalmatian companion, Perdita. Soon, one thing will lead to another, and before they know it, Roger and Anita will get married and the adorable Perdita, pregnant. However, their short-lived joy is disrupted when Anita's glamorous but horrible boss, Cruella DeVil, dognaps the innocent puppies with the intention of making a luxurious coat with the dogs' fabulously spotted fur. Eventually, along with Perdita's 15 pups, Cruella will manage to bring the total to the staggering number of 99 Dalmatians; nevertheless, are the cute little puppies as helpless as they look?Written by
Jeff Daniels (Roger) says that on more than one occasion, he heard an authoritative voice on the dog-strewn set shout "Sit!" and immediately plopped himself into a chair only to be told, "Not you, Jeff." See more »
Anita somehow did not know she was pregnant until Nanny told her. If Anita had missed a part of her menstrual cycle then she should had suspected she was at least expecting. See more »
Television News Reporter:
We're all familiar with the illegal poaching of endangered animals in the wild, but never before has an animal in captivity been slaughtered for its pelt. Animal protection groups that monitor the international trade in game contraband have further told us that a white Siberian tiger is so rare that the offer of a pelt would surely draw the attention of law enforcement agencies.
Television News Reporter:
Shortly before dawn this morning security staff at London Zoo discovered the ...
[...] See more »
After the end credits, Cruella's laugh can be heard as the Walt Disney logo appears. See more »
UK theatrical version had some dialogue substituted to secure a 'U' rating. See more »
I've noticed something about John Hughes' movies: he started out writing about adults with child-like tendencies ("Mr. Mom", "National Lampoon's Vacation"), went on to actual teenagers ("Sixteen Candles", The Breakfast Club"), devolved down to pre-teens ("Home Alone", "Dennis the Menace") and then babies ("Baby's Day Out") and now that he's exhausted all the ages of man (except the elderly - don't give him any ideas) he's moved on to the animal kingdom with "101 Dalmatians".
You know the basic storyline if you've seen the 1961 Disney animated original - Roger and Anita (Daniels and Richardson) meet and marry then their respective dalmatians Pongo and Perdita have 15 puppies which are coveted by the despicable Cruella DeVil (played con brio by Close) who will have them at any cost to make a puppy fur coat.
What's new this time around? The fact that it's all live action, for one, and the formidable assistance of computers helps create the illusion of dogs and other creatures acting with almost human precision, plus the fact that instead of precocious voices for all the animals they act out voiceless against the human baddies, especially Horace and Jasper (Williams and Laurie), as if the animal kingdom were all channeling Macaulay Culkin.
And, of course, since Hughes wrote the script, you know this won't be Shakespeare - slapstick malice is at the forefront with cute but noble good guys, ugly and dumb bad guys and lots of adorable animals.
But not just dalmatians, mind you: there are all manner of dogs - sheepdogs, bulldogs, terriers, etc. Not to mention horses, sheep, raccoons, rabbits, chickens, pigs, cows, birds and even a mouse in one instance. All of them banding together to bring the dalmatians, all 101 of them, together safely.
Director Herek brings everything together with assurance and all the actors make sure you know that this is a story that is first and foremost for the kiddies. Especially Close - complete with claws on her gloves and a different wardrobe for every scene, she not only chews the scenery but nibbles on it with every tooth in her head and savors the taste like a connoisseur. Bless her.
This isn't the kind of movie that can be successfully analyzed. You either like it or not, depending on what kind of tolerance you have for kiddie slapstick. I like that, so I liked "101 Dalmatians".
Seven stars, plus half a star for Close's diabolical work...and a half star more for the donations from the animal world.
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