Starring: Rod Taylor, J. Pat O’Malley, Betty Lou Gerson
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman
Running Time: 79 mins
101 Dalmatians is an American film about a litter of Dalmatian puppies who are stolen by thugs under the direction of the evil Cruella de Vil, leaving their parents to launch a daring rescue mission to bring them back home safe.
If you know Golden Age Disney, then you know 101 Dalmatians. Although that may sound like a negative, it’s always nice to see a hugely pleasant and very cosy animation like this, with beautiful hand-drawn animation, a wonderful score and a kind-hearted story. Yes, it may lack in total originality, and definitely isn’t Disney’s most emotionally riveting classic, however 101 Dalmatians does the job that no modern animations ever can, and that’s warm your heart.
Of course, that’s a painfully cheesy thing to say, and not necessarily the best reason to love a film, however when you’re talking about classic Disney, that’s kind of the point. While some of their Golden Age movies undoubtedly have more depth to them, 101 Dalmatians is full of the sort of pleasant and cosy elements of a family movie that make it the perfect thing to sit down and enjoy on a cold Sunday afternoon.
Above all, the classic animation style is a delight to behold, and with the increasing dominance of CGI animated movies nowadays, watching these old movies is becoming more and more of a visual treat, with the added bonus of their classic nature giving them even more of a cosy atmosphere.
What’s more is that the setting, old London town (in the snow!) is just the icing on the cake for the film’s pleasant atmosphere. The story of course has some conflict, and it’s entertaining and heartwarming to see the parents try and find their lost children, but this being Disney, you’ve got a classic villain that, although is visually a bit unnerving, isn’t going to put any more threat into the movie to outdo the cosy and simply nice nature of it all.
While I can’t say that I found 101 Dalmatians an absolutely riveting film, and definitely not on the level of the likes of Cinderella and The Jungle Book for pure entertainment, kids will certainly enjoy it, and its heartwarming and nostalgic nature will also make any adult beam with joy. So, thanks to its pleasant animation and setting, simple story and uplifting atmosphere, 101 Dalmatians is a delight, even if it doesn’t go above and beyond when it comes to delivering a truly original or enthralling story, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2 overall.