102 Dalmatians Celebration!
102 Dalmatians Review
A whole new generation of spotted heroes returns in Disney's live-action canine adventure 102 Dalmatians, the sequel to the highly successful 101 Dalmatians. Glenn Close reprises her role as the maniacal Cruella deVil, only this time, she's been mentally reprogrammed to love the little pups rather than want to steal them for a new fur coat. Her newfound canine affection inspires her to fund a down-on-its-luck animal shelter, which houses an eclectic group of lovable mutts called "The Second Chance Gang." She even adopts a fur-challenged little pooch named "Fluffy," a hairless Chinese Crested dog with lots of spunk. Yet Cruella's Dalmatian obsession soon resurfaces, leaving a family of Dals and their owner, Chloe, on the run to stop Cruella before it's too late. Also appearing in the film is Gerard Depardieu, who stars as Jean-Pierre LePelt, an over-the-top couture furrier who's hired by Cruella to bring her evil Dalmatian fashion fantasy to life.
First time live-action director Kevin Lima—whose animation credits include co-directing Disney's Tarzan and A Goofy Movie—was pleasantly surprised by the canine stars' acting abilities, despite having somewhat unrealistic expectations at first. Coming from animation, where he would construct a character from scratch, he thought "the animals would act like animated characters." But once he realized that every star has its limits, he became "amazed by what the dogs could do," aptly noting that a puppy took better direction than a human child would at a comparable age! An owner of two
dogs, he took a special liking to "Chomp," played by Border terriers Bo and Monty, and also observed the special bond that the animal trainers on 102 Dalmatians had with their animals. Lima also found AHA's presence on set to be a "great relief," even stating that "the animals were treated better than the humans." Fortunately for us, since 102 was such a positive experience for Lima, the talented director states that he would definitely work with animals again in the future.
Spot on Dalmatian Education
While many animal welfare groups—AHA among them—are concerned that unaware and/or irresponsible dog breeders capitalized on the popularity of Disney's Dalmatian films in recent past, this movie's plot differs from its predecessors in that it showcases a team of mixed and purebred shelter stars, as well as carries humane messages including anti-fur—by allowing the animals to have a voice, the fur-wearing Cruella seems all the more despicable; accepting diversity; shelter support and rescue; and the human/animal bond. Disney is also distributing a flyer on Dalmatians' attributes and drawbacks—they are wonderful pets, but clearly not for everyone--in order to educate the public on the breed's specific personality
traits and care requirements. And in addition to adding AHA's end-credit disclaimer which ensures that no animals were harmed in the making of this film, Disney will include a separate message during the end-credits stressing the lifetime commitment of adopting a pet and the importance of researching your choice of pet carefully.
Mutts Steal the Spotlight
Despite the film's title, "The Second Chance Gang" takes center stage throughout the movie, proving that canine heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
The gang--comprised of a Border Terrier named "Chomp," a Bull Mastiff named "Drooler," "Digger” the Borzoi, and many other both pure and mixed breed dogs—advocates diversity and teamwork, as they all come together to thwart Cruella's scheme. There's even a Macaw named "Waddlesworth"—played by three birds, Brittan, Gonzo, and Radar—who believes himself to be a dog and actually barks along with the rest of the gang! The owner of their animal
shelter, Kevin, shares a deep bond with each dog, and as many shelter rescuers well know, finds it difficult to imagine his life without them or the "Second Chance" shelter. His love for the dogs necessitates his acceptance of funds from Cruella—despite her infamy—and for a time, the gang lives it up in swank deVillian style, including a posh doggy salon and individual sleeping tents.
AHA's Second Chance Fund
Although most animal shelters are financially far away from grooming facilities and cushiony dog houses, The American Humane Association offers a grant for animal care and control agencies to aid animals victimized by violence, a real-life concern for many rescue organizations who cannot afford to pay veterinary costs for a seriously wounded animal. For more information on the Second Chance Fund go to AHA's Shelter Central website at
www.ShelterCentral.org/2ndchance.htm or log onto
"Dipstick" and "Dottie" are the two adult Dalmatians in the film who must save their beloved pups from becoming part of Cruella's fall fashion collection. One puppy in particular, named "Oddball," has an especially difficult adventure—not only must he escape Cruella, but as the only Dalmatian yet to get his spots, he also struggles with feeling out-of-place
and different from his spotted siblings. With the help of the Second Chance Gang, however, Oddball learns that being different only makes you more special and that it's better to accept who you are rather than pretend to be something you're not—a lesson that even Waddlesworth the barking bird eventually realizes.
102 Dalmatians was filmed in London, England, and the production worked closely with AHA to protect all of the animals on set for 102--an AHA representative was in Great Britain monitoring the animal action for the entire duration of filming. The puppies in the film were all born in the UK, so none had to endure an overseas journey. Also, no Dalmatians were especially bred for the movie. The production worked with accredited Dalmatian breeders in the UK and merely timed the filming to correspond with the time when their normal litters would be old enough to begin training. And despite the film's 102 Dalmatian promise, no more than 30 puppies were ever used in a given scene. Many Dalmatians in the background of scenes were actually life-like stuffies—even members of the Second Chance Gang had stuffed doubles! As for life after 102, most of the Dalmatian puppies were actually pre-sold, and many of the other dogs found loving homes with cast and crew members, who adopted them after the dogs' movie work was completed.
Although the Dalmatians are especially charming in the film, and as a breed, in fact, are highly intelligent, personable, and loyal dogs, one must consider all of the pros and cons before adopting one. A common misconception about Dals is that since they're rather large dogs, they must enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors. They are actually housedogs who would much prefer to spend their time indoors around people. In fact, if left with too much time alone, Dals may become destructive and high-strung. Also, a Dalmatian's short, spotted coat does not provide adequate protection in the winter, even with the shelter of a doghouse. And while they are usually happy and enthusiastic--and though this is great for playtime--their energy can often become too much for many people. If you're looking for a quiet and always obedient dog, a Dalmatian is not the right choice for you. For more Dalmatian information and other pet tips visit
The Spotted Line
AHA wants every pet to have a loving and permanent home. If you are adopting a pet, be sure you are ready for a lifetime commitment and research your choice carefully—no hasty decisions! With that in mind, 102 Dalmatians is a truly enjoyable family movie filled with humane messages and good-guy ethics that even Cruella can’t ignore.
102 Dalmatians Review
After landing in jail for her maniacal ways in 101 Dalmatians, Cruella goes from dog-napper to dog-lover in 102, thanks to a stint in a Pavlovian puppy rehab facility. Cruella sits in her cell as Dalmatian puppies crawl all over her and affectionately lick her face. Puppy treats and a few smears of food on actress Glenn Close’s face prompted the puppies to surround the reformed villain and give sloppy doggy “kisses.” Other rehab success stories include a content kitty with a canary perched atop its head, a goose sharing a cell with a fox, and a bull terrier now dining with a rabbit rather than on it.
These friendships were forged off-screen with the help of animal trainers, who worked with animals for several weeks prior to filming to acclimate them to their environment and to one another. For the scene, trainers placed the
well-behaved cat on its mark while a few seeds were set on top of its head. The canary was then placed on the cat’s head, munched on the seeds a few seconds, and hopped back to the awaiting trainer. In the fox and goose sequence, the fox was played by “Freddie,” a 14 year-old domestic who had been hand-raised from birth, and who had worked with goose prior to filming.
The last unlikely couple was played by “Spike” the bull terrier and several different rabbits. The rabbits had been acclimated to dogs during eight weeks of pre-training, and only had to munch on a carrot during the scene. Later, when Pavlov’s tactics go awry, the rehabilitation is reversed, and the cat has canary feathers on its chin—implicitly having eaten the bird, the rabbit jumps through a hole in the door to escape the dog, and the fox chases the goose. Trainers actually placed a few fake feathers on “Julia” the cat before the take, the fox was actually running to another
trainer off-camera and the goose in another direction, and the rabbit was delicately passed from one trainer to another.
When Cruella is finally released from prison, her dramatic exit includes pigeons flying out from the doorway as she takes in her first breath of freedom. The pigeons were trained to fly on command and return to the trainer after the scene was shot. The same birds appear later in the film, perched on Chloe’s office windowsill.
As a token for her newfound animal loving ways, Cruella’s loyal valet Alonso presents her with a gift: a spunky little Chinese Crested pooch that Cruella names “Fluffy.” Fluffy’s spiffy hair-do was achieved by an imaginative stylist and a few spurts of gentle doggy hairspray. Fluffy’s gift box was lined with a soft blanket, and when he growls at Cruella he was actually looking off-camera at a trainer, who cued him to snarl for the close-up shot. Trainers also taught the actors how to properly handle each animal when a scene called for a dog to be picked up or held, just as Cruella does
with Fluffy. No one but the trainers and specified actors were allowed to handle the animals. Since Fluffy’s hairless body made him particularly vulnerable to cold weather, his pen was protected from the wind and had a directional heater to keep him warm. Each dog, in fact, had an individual pen with bedding and heaters to keep the canines comfy and warm.
Fluffy, who rebuffs Cruella’s erstwhile affection, later gets tossed from Cruella’s staircase railing and lands in the arms of Alonso. The animal trainer released Fluffy approximately three feet above the camera into the actor’s expectant arms. Fluffy rehearsed this action for several weeks prior to filming. As with the other dogs, Fluffy was trained with positive reinforcement—verbal praise and lots of treats!
At the Second Chance Shelter, “Drooler” the Bullmastiff has a tug-of-war with Kevin, the director of the shelter. Drooler was trained to pull on the rope after an animal handler placed it in its mouth. To enhance Drooler’s drool, the dog’s namesake is generated with a special tooth cap covered with petroleum jelly. For the scene, the other dogs were cued to bark in the background in support of Drooler, who eventually wins the match with the help of “Chomp” and “Digger,” who sabotage Kevin’s chance at victory. Chomp was trained to yank Kevin’s sock while Digger set some coals rolling to trip up his shelter director. “Waddlesworth,” the Macaw who thinks he’s a dog, narrates the match by smacking on peanut butter placed in his beak by trainers. Waddlesworth’s voice is provided by actor Eric Idle. The dogs and
bird were copiously rewarded with treats and verbal praise for their actions.
After Drooler’s scandalous victory, the dogs each grab a feeding bowl and wait in line for Kevin to fill it with food. Trainers gave the dogs a special container to carry in their mouth, and cued them to take their turn walking up to the actor. After their bowl is filled with fake dog food—real food would’ve distracted the pooches—a trainer standing off-camera calls them away. Soon, their heartless landlord Mr. Buttons arrives with an eviction notice. Waddlesworth—who carried his own feeding bucket in the prior sequence—bravely confronts Mr. Buttons by attacking his pants leg. The bird was trained to “shake” and “stay” for this scene.
The two lead Dalmatians from 101—Freckles and Maisie, who played Pongo and Perdy—are back in 102 as Dipstick and Dottie. Cruella’s probation officer, Chloe Simon, happens to be the owner of the cute couple, and is ecstatic when Dottie gives birth to a litter of pups at her London flat. The newborn pups were actually animatronic and made of rubber, and the set was so quiet and peaceful during filming this scene that the mommy Dal had no trouble falling right to sleep! Trainers protected the real puppies in later scenes by constantly spraying the set and props with disinfectant spray and requiring foot baths for all puppy handlers and crew.
In addition to disinfecting the filming area, the puppies were protected in several scenes with safety harnesses and by occasionally skipping the action altogether: animatronic and CGI (or computer generated) dogs often achieved the most harrowing tasks in the film. Waddlesworth’s rescue of Oddball on the train tracks was first shot with the Macaw flying in front of a green screen, and a computer generated Oddball was added in post production. Oddball’s near-death experience on Chloe’s office ledge was accomplished with the help of over 18 animal handlers and safety personnel, who kept the puppy secured on the fake ledge with various harnesses—production later added special effects to enhance the drama. For the bakery sequence—the film’s grand finale and Cruella’s comeuppance—the pups were all strapped into safety harnesses and often held in place by trainers hidden under the props.
Le Pelt, Cruella’s tacky partner in crime, is a major threat to the Dal pups. Yet the Dal pups have no problem outsmarting the smarmy French furrier, despite a few close encounters. At one point, Le Pelt holds up Oddball by his sweater while the puppy tries to wriggle away. Oddball’s sweater was covering a safety harness, from which the actor actually held the pup. A trainer was propped on pillows underneath the puppy and when the scene was completed, the actor handed Oddball to the trainer below. The puppy felt no discomfort. Le Pelt does get a taste of his own medicine,
however, when Chomp takes a bite out of his leg later in the film. To achieve this, a trainer taped a bag of treats to the inside of the actor’s pants leg and cued Chomp to “get it.” Chomp was cued to “let go” when the scene was over.
A pivotal sequence in the film is Cruella’s ill-intentioned doggy dinner held at her mansion. Here, Chloe discovers that Cruella is up to her old, evil, dog-napping ways. Although chaos ensues during dinner, the scene was meticulously planned by trainers and production to ensure the safety of the animals. Many of the dogs in attendance were show dogs accompanied by their actual owners and were not film dogs. Trainers standing in different locations around the table called the dogs by name and the dogs responded by walking on the tabletop. The dinnerware was heavy plastic—no glass was
used--and was bolted down to the table so that the dogs couldn’t knock anything over. Even the chairs at the dinner table were accommodated to each dog’s needs: the Bloodhound sat on 2 flat chairs pushed together, the Pugs sat on pillows, and the Chihuahuas had a special booster seat. There was no human food for the dogs to eat, and the little dog which appears to choke was actually eating—sound effects were later added.
Other show dogs in the film are the pink and blue French Poodles in the Paris sequence. They are champions of their breed, and were colorfully dyed with a gentle, non-irritating, vegetable-based substance that washed out in 72 hours. For the scene, they cross the street with their owner and barely miss an encounter with the front end of Cruella’s car. Cruella’s driving sequence was shot separate from the dogs’ in order to ensure their safety—a fake front end of a car was placed in front of the camera instead. The shelter dogs also must brave the Paris traffic in order to “talk” to the
Poodles on the other side of the street. The car drivers were actually experienced stunt drivers trained to stop their vehicles no less than 10 feet from the dogs. The dogs were trained to cross the street in a direct pattern, and handlers were strategically placed on the set to keep the animals on track.
A Final Note
Although some of the furs kept in Cruella’s secret room were, in fact, real fur, they came from Disney’s archival prop department and date back to when people were less socially conscious regarding the fur issue. Since the coats were old and shedding and no animals were harmed during the production of 102 Dalmatians to make these furs, AHA stands by Disney’s decision to use them in the film to illustrate Cruella’s sub-humane ethics.