102 DALMATIANS (rental)
There was only one reason, initially, to rent this movie… Ioan Gruffudd. I just realized it was on his résumé, and I decided it would have to be rented. Immediately. Fortunately, Kolby and Wade were staying over that night, so it turned out to be a perfect occasion.
We all loved 101 Dalmatians, and in all forms. But we are so partial to Glenn Close’s portrayal of Cruella DeVille that the live features are favorites of ours. I’m not entirely sure why we never watched this sequel, but if it took Ioan to bring us to it, then I’m happy to give him the credit.
Any way you look at it, 102 Dalmatians is just a delightful film.
The puppies in this movie were so expressive, but the center was, of course, the non-spotted pup (called Oddball in the film). And she was the lead. The comic relief came in a parrot who believed he was actually a dog; he was voiced by Eric Idle, and he kept us laughing the entire time. Even the story was enjoyable, and the inept crooks were much more appealing than in the first film. My only irritation in the movie came with Gerard Depardieu. Bumbling idiot doesn’t do him justice. I was sick of his character before he even finished his first scene. But other than him, everything in this movie was magnificent.
And the kids just loved it. We all laughed and laughed, and when it ended, we continued to speak of specific scenes from the film. That’s when I know that we’ve truly enjoyed a movie. And we end up referring to those moments again and again and again through the years.
As for Ioan, he was adorable. Not the star; not even a lead, actually, as the puppies stole all of the scenes from the humans (I’m not sure we can count Cruella as a human). But Ioan was terrific in that he realized his second-class status, and he simply played to the animals. His grin was wider and wider in every scene, and that endeared him to me all the more.
The trivia, of course, is that his female co-star in 102 Dalmatians became his real-life girlfriend (and by all accounts, still is), so that added a bit of depth to their roles. And that’s necessary when you are being upstaged by dogs, I suppose. But it also did not detract from their performances; it wasn’t apparent in their onscreen moments. Yet it’s fun trivia to have in my mind, if ever there’s a time when I get to use it.