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It is the wittiest, most charming, least pretentious cartoon feature Walt Disney has ever made.
Dog-lovers, in particular, will go ga-ga for this, but this remarkably fresh and funny period tale (set in England, fact fans) has all the ebullience and lovability of its titular characters.
Cruella De Vil is so much a tour de force that she single-handedly snatches the movie away from any retroactive comparisons to the likes of The Rescuers or Robin Hood or any of the other post-classical Disney features whose sloppiness is their only saving grace.
This was the last Disney animated feature that Uncle Walt lived to see through personally; it can't be a coincidence that it's also the last Disney animated feature of real depth and emotional authenticity.
However much the film breaks with Disney tradition, it’s still a winning effort that mixes cuteness with dry wit in the service of a fast-paced, emotionally charged adventure tale.
The New York Times
A generally cozy and sentimental little yarn about a nice young English couple, their brood of dogs and a lady dognapper who collects Dalmatians to make coats. It's a rather clever idea, if a bit unsettling.
Los Angeles Times
Cruella De Vil dominates the film: With her booming voice (provided by Betty Lou Gerson) and extravagant gestures, she leaves a trail of shattered glass and frazzled nerves wherever she passes. [12 July 1991, p.F12]
TV Guide Magazine
The story, a romance with an interesting detective twist, is combined with exquisite caricatures of both humans and dogs.
It's an uneven film, with moments of inspiration in a fairly conventional tale of kidnapping and rescue. This is not one of the great Disney classics - it's not in the same league with Snow White or Pinocchio - but it's passable fun, and will entertain its target family audiences.
While not as indelibly enchanting or inspired as some of the studio’s most unforgettable animated endeavors, this is nonetheless a painstaking creative effort.
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