101 Dalmatians remains by far one of Disney's most ambitious animation projects ever undertaken. Just issued in a new DVD edition, the film has never looked or sounded better. Fans of the film will find plenty of bonus features of the type only Disney could deliver to give them hours of entertainment.
As the film opens, we are introducted to Pongo (Rod Taylor), a dalmatian living in London with a semi-successful songwriter named Roger (Ben Wright). Pongo longs for an end to their bachelor existence and decides to take matters into his own hands during a walk in the park when he encounters another dalmatian named Perdita (Cate Bauer) and her owner Anita (Lisa Davis).
Roger and Anita fall in love and marry while Pongo and Perdita have a chance to raise a family of their own. They end up having 15 dalmatian puppies which are soon kidnapped by the evil Cruella De Vil, who wants to use the puppies' coats to make herself a new fur. Soon it's a race to see whether Pongo and Perdita can rescue their puppies in time. Little do they know that Cruella has been buying up dalmatians all over London and when they finally find their puppies they find eighty-four more, making for a family of 101 dalmatians.
This film broke new ground for Disney by moving away from its classical style of ink and paint animation (which required hand painting of each individual animation cel) to a Xerox process that was cheaper and faster. Stylistically, the artwork was more modern and contemporary than the film's predecessors. As a result, the look is much sharper and not as lush as other Disney films. However, it's also a more ambitious and detail-oriented film than other animated features. The task of animating ninety-nine dalmatian puppies and all their spots can be a nightmare for even the most talented of animators.