Genre: Kids & Family
IMDB Rating: 4.5 (150 votes)
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman
Studio: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment
Starring: Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson, Cate Bauer, Lisa Daniels, Ben Wright
Summary: Back in 1961, Walt Disney got a little hip with "101 Dalmatians", making use of that flat Saturday morning cartoon style that had become so popular. The result is a kitschy change in animation and story. Pongo and Perdita are two lonely dalmatians who meet cute in a London park and arrange for their pet humans to marry so they can live together and raise a family. They become proud parents of 15 pups, who are stolen by the dastardly Cruella De Vil, who wants to make a fur coat out of them. Cruella has become the most popular villain in all of Disney; she's flamboyantly nasty and lots of fun. But it's the dalmatians who shine in this endearing classic, particularly those precocious pups. Telling the story from the dogs' point of view is a clever conceit, a fundamental flaw of the live-action remake. --"Bill Desowitz"
On the DVD
This two-disc platinum edition features great sound and incredibly bright, intense colors thanks to the restoration process, but its most impressive selling point is the huge assortment of bonus features designed to delight children, families, and the most serious Disney fans. Kids will have fun caring for their very own puppy in the virtual Dalmatian game for television or on DVD ROM and can find out just what kind of puppy they're most like and which human Disney character they're most compatible with in the puppy profiler game. The fun with language game is geared toward the very young preschooler and teaches numbers and the names of common household items. A modern Selena Gomez music video of "Cruella DeVil" will appeal to tweens and teens. The whole family will enjoy the "101 Pop Up Facts For Families" option which prints various movie facts like the name and author of the original book and how specific scenes differ between the book and the movie right on the screen during the movie and Disney fans will love the similar "101 Pop Up Facts For Fans" feature which supplies a wide variety of film trivia about featured voice talents, famous Disney animators that worked on the film, technical devices employed like multi-pane shots and the Xerox process, and which artists directed specific scenes in the movie. Eleven separate Backstage Disney featurettes interview a host of animators, writers, historians, producers, and story men regarding the film's contemporary feel and the groundbreaking technical processes like the then-new Xerox process utilized in making "101 Dalmatians". Also highlighted is Bill Pete's amazing storytelling contribution to the film, the technical and mechanical innovations of Ub Iwerks, the songwriting process, and the animation prowess of famous Disney animators like Woolie Reitherman, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, Ken Anderson, and Walt Peregoy. The 12-minute dramatization of the longstanding correspondence between author Dodie Smith and Walt Disney is intriguing and the trailers and radio and television spots provide fun historical reference for the film and its various releases. Finally, the "Music and More" feature presents a variety of deleted and abandoned songs as well as many alternate versions and takes of songs used in the final film. "--Tami Horiuchi"
Stills from "101 Dalmatians" (click for larger image)