The upcoming Disney film Cruella offers a reimagining of the origin story of Cruella de Vil, the main antagonist of the 101 Dalmatians franchise. The trailer for the movie dropped recently, prompting a spate of comparisons with the trailer for Warner Bros.’s gritty reimagining of Batman supervillain Joker’s origin in 2019’s Joker. Now, comedian Matthew Highton has combined the two trailers, and it’s a bit creepy how well they mesh together. Highton posted the combined trailer on Twitter with the following message.
“Turns out if you overlay the sound from the Joker trailer onto the Cruella one it fits so well you get a prequel film about Joker’s mother.”
The edited video proves that Cruella could just as easily be the origin story of Cruella, as played by Emma Stone, the mother of Arthur Fleck aka Joker, who, just like her son, suffered from a mental breakdown due to her run-ins with high society, prompting her transformation into the maniacal Cruella de Vil.
However, that is where the comparisons end, since Arthur’s mother in Joker was a sickly secretary who died in poverty, while Cruella went on to become a rich tycoon who dreamed of making a coat out of the skin of dalmatian puppies, before rather ignominiously being defeated by the same puppies.
One can’t help but suspect that the makers of Cruella were more than a little inspired by the success of Joker, both critically and commercially. It is interesting to consider how Cruella seeks to basically do for its main character what Joker did for the Clown Prince of Crime, that is, reinvent the backstory for an out-and-out villain to show their descent into villainy was prompted by social factors rather than them being inherently evil.
Of course, the biggest difference between the two movies is that Joker was an R-rated movie, that took full advantage of its rating to show grisly acts of violence. On the other hand, Cruella is a Disney product, so all the violence that takes place in the movie is going to be kid-friendly.
One thing that we know is that this time around, Cruella is not going to the main villain. Instead, that role will be played by Emma Thompson, whose character in Cruella has been described as “an antagonist to Cruella who’s thought to be pivotal in her transformation to the villain we know today”.
The Cruella trailer has already racked up impressive numbers, with more than 71 million views in less than twenty-four hours. It seems audiences are really invested in the journey of the cackling madwoman from 101 Dalmatians, who in the expert hands of Stone, does not appear to be either cackling or mad, but rather a smirking mastermind who gets up to all kinds of hi-jinks in her quest to become an icon in the world of high-fashion. Directed by Craig Gillespie, Cruella stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry, and Emily Beecham. The film arrives in theaters on May 28.