November 25, 2000 -- Very few sequels live up to the original film and "102 Dalmatians" is no exception, even though it did not have all that much to live up to. It is generally uninspired, has a weak story and the jokes are fairly lame. Even so, it may be better for kids than the Grinch movie that's in theaters now. At least it is fairly harmless, and it has cute animals.
The story begins with the rehabilitation of the wicked Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close of "Cookie's Fortune" reprises her role as De Vil). At first, she is rehabilitated, but of course she relapses into her old dognapping behavior. She is aided by her minions, including Jean Pierre Le Pelt (played by Gérard Depardieu of "The Man in the Iron Mask," looking very strange in a punk hairdo), along with Alonso (Tim McInnerny reprises his role as De Vil's pathetic, misguided servant from the first film).
The target of De Vil's spotted fur lust is a dalmatian family owned by her probation officer, Cloe (played by Alice Evans). Meanwhile, she uses an animal shelter run by Cloe's friend Kevin (Ioan Gruffudd) to make it look like she has really reformed. The situation escalates into an international chase to save the puppies from destruction. Naturally the animals have a paw in the outcome of the tale. The animals are anthropomorphised to the max.
In addition to a large number of cute, and not so cute, dogs in the film, there is also a talking parrot (voice by Eric Idle of "Monty Python" fame. The parrot, who thinks he is a dog, is amusing. The romance between Cloe and Kevin is unconvincing, but Close is a stunning as the outrageous Cruella. She's so far over the top she punches a hole in the top of the screen. Unfortunately, Close would have to chew up a lot more scenery than this to make this movie appetizing. The film is so bland and so limp, even with Disney's trademark cute animal tricks, it would take a 300-amp shock to get its heart beating. It rates a D+.
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