1996’s 101 Dalmatians is technically the second ‘live action’ remake of an earlier animated feature if you consider 1994’s The Jungle Book to be the original. Although that movie bears very little resemblance to the 1967 cartoon classic and Disney did do another live action version of The Jungle Book in 2016 that is far more of a remake of the animated original. Given the innate similarities between the 1996 incarnation of 101 Dalmatians and the 1961 original, you could make a compelling case that it is this movie and not The Jungle Book that triggered the slew of pointless ‘live action’ remakes of beloved animated features that has gathered pace in recent years.
And in comparison to the original, the 1996 movie comes up short in every respect. Glenn Close is by far the best thing about the movie and she does a pretty amazing job at recreating one of Disney’s most iconic villains. But as good as her version of Cruella de Vil might be, she still can’t quite live up to the brilliance of the original.
Also, it does seem, at one point, to turn into a kind of Home Alone ripoff but with animals (mainly dogs but other creatures join in the ‘fun’ including, bizarrely, a skunk and some raccoons, which is remarkable because neither species is indigenous to the UK, where the movie is purported to be set), which doesn’t do anyone any credit at all.
It’s harmless enough entertainment. But entirely pointless.
Score for Christmasishness
The original animated classic did finish on a Christmassy note, so I assumed this one would. But it doesn’t. So there are no references to Christmas at all and I shouldn’t have included it. But it does follow the animated movie to a point and it’s clearly set at the same time of year, with lots of snow in sight, so I’m going to assume it did finish at Christmas, even if there is no explicit confirmation on screen.