Directed by Kevin Lima. Starring Glenn Close, Gerard Depardieu, Alice Evans & Ioan Gruffudd

Detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure for misdemeanours committed in 1996’s 101 Dalmatians, Cruella De Vil (Close) is paroled in time for Christmas, with a reformed temperament for the season that’s in it. After three years of electro-shock treatment, Cruella now finds more joy in caring for dogs than in wearing them. But the strict black-and-white colour-code of her couture suggests that there’s a bit of 'DeVil' in the old dog yet. It soon transpires that three years of therapy can be reversed by a single chime of Big Ben (conveniently located directly opposite her parole office). The clock strikes and, ding-dong the witch is alive again, determined to regain her place in fashion’s front-line with that elusive Dalmatian coat.

Formulaic, it may be, but 102 Dalmatians delivers a fresh serving of what the kids want, just in time for Christmas. Its yawnproof mix of loveable pups, breathtaking action sequences and a stellar performance from Close, not to mention new characters (in particular, Waddlesworth - voiced by Eric Idle - the macaw who thinks he’s a dog), won’t fail to satisfy those who begged for more last time round.

Nickie Byrne