Do you know your 102 Dalmatians from your 101 Dalmatians 2? As Cruella hits theatres and begins streaming on Disney Plus, here’s a quick guide to each of the Dalmatians movies on Disney Plus!
The newest Disney live action film Cruella is being released in cinemas where local restrictions allow, along with Disney+. It’s a more grown-up take on the Dalmatians franchise, following young Cruella in the 1970s London fashion scene. Accordingly, the Cruella age rating is 12A in the UK.
And that age rating is accurate – it’s a darkly glamorous story from the very beginning. If you’re struggling to get a friend into Disney movies though, try Cruella’s couture and big budget rock soundtrack.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
Known as 101 Dalmatians or One Hundred and One Dalmatians, this is a sweet, classic Walt Disney animation. It’s based closely on the 1956 novel by Dodie Smith (that’s right, the novel was pretty new when the movie was released). And it’s a fun family movie where dalmatians Perdita and Pongo are the lead characters, introducing us to their owners and mid-20th Century London.
It’s not as song-filled as some classic Disney cartoons but One Hundred and One Dalmatians does feature music written by George Bruns. You’ll know his work from Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats… and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It was Bruns and his colleague Xavier Atencio who created “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)”.
The 1996 101 Dalmatians movie predated the Disney live action trend by 15 years. It’s true to the original dalmatian animation, with a few updates – though of course, the updates may not so fresh anymore.
True to the live action template, 101 Dalmatians has several big names in the line-up with Glenn Close famously portraying Cruella de Vil, assisted by Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams as Horace and Jasper. Our Roger and Anita are played by Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson.
Now, there are two major changes to note. One, there’s added slapstick comedy, which may or may not be your thing (and is less suited to younger children). Two, though these dalmatians behave in the same self-aware and human-like way, they do not talk! It’s all narrated by humans this time round.
And of course, the 101 Dalmatians live action movie was followed by a sequel… Casting Eoin Gruffudd and Alice Evans as new couple Kevin and Chloe, the 2000 movie 102 Dalmatians sees the return of the Cruella De Vil and her spotty obsession.
She’s free from jail, and there’s a chance that Cruella has reformed. Do you believe her? Me neither. Chloe is her probation officer – and the proud owner of Dipstick, one of Pongo and Perdita’s puppies, so we get a nice link to the original story.
It’s a warm-hearted film but there’s more slapstick humour so it’s better suited to older kids (and of course, adults with a silly sense of humour).
101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure
In the animated sequel to 101 Dalmatians, the dogs and their humans are moving to the Dalmatian Plantation that Roger sang about. But Patch stays behind, meets his TV hero, Thunderbolt, and crosses paths with Cruella once again.
Like some of the other early 2000s sequels it’s less polished than the original movie. But there’s lots of silly fun and adventure with the puppies.
Listen out for your favourite voice artists on the original English recording, including Kath Soucie, who has voiced characters including Kanga and Cinderella, as Perdita; and Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, voices Anita. It also marks the return of Kathryn Beaumont, the original voice of Wendy as Crystal, in her final acting role.
101 Dalmatian Street
A Disney Junior fan favourite series, 101 Dalmatian Street is a totally updated animation based on the original 101 Dalmatians. The action and comedy are snappy, quippy and modern like the visuals – it fits right in with the Duck Tales reboot and The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse.
You might notice that though the new Dalmatians series is set in London like the original movie and novel, it’s set in the 21st Century. Look out for modern London landmarks and streets in the background as the Dalmatians cause chaos in the city.