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Number of Reviews on MG: 1524
101 Dalmatians
1961 - G - 79 Mins.
Written By: Dodie Smith
Starring: Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson
Review by: Joe Jarvis
   
Looking at reviews of "Sleeping Beauty" across the net, one may think that that film was a huge success. Wrong. It originally tanked, due to its high costs. In my opinion, this meant bad news for Disney, as after that and until "The Little Mermaid" 30 years later, Disney got depressed with animation and made their films on a more economic scale, with a little help from photocopiers. There were some good things, that's for certain. Yet the whole period was a hit, miss or maybe period. "101 Dalmatians" was the first movie of this period.

I'm sure you know the storyline of "101 Dalmatians", so I'm not going to really elaborate, only I'm going to say that it may appeal to fans of Pixar's films as it sees the human world through the eyes of non-humans, giving animals human expressions and emotions, plus creating fun bits here and there.

Yet despite my love for Pixar’s films, and for “Lady and the Tramp” (which is similar to this film), I have mixed views on "101 Dalmatians." People say it's in their top 10 animated films and that the animation is wonderful, but I don't fully agree with that statement. This film isn't in my Top 10 favourite Disney films and I didn't really like the sketchy animation. Also, I must admit that the villain's sidekicks don't appeal to me and I would have enjoyed a bunch of evil animals like in "The Rescuers" as opposed to two dum-dums (ninja racoons, perhaps?). Also, the film does sort of move a bit slowly, especially towards the point where the dogs are moving through the English countryside in the blizzard, where it comes to the point where the dogs are narrowly escaping Cruella's clutches over and over again.

Aside from that, I do like this film. Aside from the sketchiness of the animation, the film looks good with inky backgrounds and sharp lined animation. There are some moments of good pace, especially the scenes containing Cruella De Vil, who is an interestingly animated character who is an exaggeration on the stereotypical fashion obsessed rich bitch. She can do anything from driving like a maniac through the English countryside in a red limo, create strange borders through cigarette smoke and swing her arms and legs around like she just doesn't care. The idea of using Pongo the Dalmatian as a narrator is also very interesting.

It may have been a bit slow in places, some of the characters may have been out of place and the animation may have been average, yet "101 Dalmatians" was a fun film to watch. It may not have been as good as some Disney films ("Snow White", "The Little Mermaid", "Alice in Wonderland"), yet I found it more entertaining than some Disney films ("The Fox and the Hound", "Atlantis", "Pete’s Dragon").

One word of advice before I go: As of 2004, the DVD of “101 Dalmatians” is currently out of print. If you want it, don’t bother searching for it. Many E-Bay auctions of the film on DVD are bootlegs and even the official copies are barebones discs. Disney is releasing a 2 Disc “Platinum Edition” of the film in the near future, so fans of the movie should wait until then.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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