102 Dalmatians (2000)

<strong class="MovieTitle">102 Dalmatians</strong> (2000)

(In French, On TV, February 2019) There are times when I’m tempted to keep reviews strictly factual and let readers figure out the rest. In talking about 102 Dalmatians, for instance, is it really useful to say anything but “this is a sequel to the live-action Disney animal comedy film featuring Glenn Close”? There’s a lot packed in that statement. It implies a continuity of tone, and if you know about live-action Disney comedies of the mid-nineties then there’s not a lot more left to say. Glenn Close is remarkable as usual, but clearly slumming in a cartoonish role. (At least she gets a chance to try out-acting Gérard Depardieu.) Nothing in the film, from script to production design, is meant to be even halfway realistic. The dogs will predictably outwit their human opponents. It does without saying that the previous film’s villain, introduced as being reformed, will snap back to form. (If I was of a more analytical disposition at the moment, I’d probably look at 102 Dalmatians’ troubling portrayal of a former villain going back to evil action, reinforcing contemporary society’s prejudices against those who have suffered from mental health issues or narcotic addition, always considered at risk of relapse.) There is, to be fair, a bit of imagination on display in production design terms, but much of the film feels like a straight rethread of the original, and the innovations aren’t much of an improvement. I mean: what’s with “Digga Digga Dog”, the Snoop Doggy Dog inspired theme rap song? At least it’s catchy.

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