Review by Camden Ferrell
Premiering as a part of the launch of the new streaming service Disney+, 2019’s Lady and the Tramp is a live-action remake and reimagining of the animated classic of the same name. While, there are still some glimmers of the original’s charm, this remake can’t help but feel dull and completely unnecessary.
This film follows the exploits of a moderately affluent dog named Lady that meets and goes on adventures with the scraggly stray called Tramp. This is almost the exact premise of the original, and while the meet-cute premise still has some charm, this movie doesn’t exploit the premise to its full potential.
However, Disney made the right choice to use this for their streaming platform instead of a theatrical release. Regardless of the investment put into this movie, it can’t help but feel like a television movie, and even then, it barely works as one. It definitely doesn’t match the cinematic qualities as this years Dumbo and The Lion King. It just feels cheaply made, and it doesn’t strive to be more than passable throughout its runtime.
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) and Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) lead this film as the titular pups. While both of their performances are adequate, it feels devoid of any real emotion or passion. They can’t make the CGI dogs feel very human, and it doesn’t have the same charm as the original. Other members of the cast include Sam Elliott, Janelle Monáe, Benedict Wong, and more, and they also have the same problem as the leads. Even though they are all very talented, they can’t liven up this movie like it needs.
On a technical level, it’s passable. The CGI for the dogs is better than you’d expect for a movie launching on a streaming platform. There are times where it blends in very well to the environment, but there are many moments where the dogs stick out like sore thumbs. Much like The Lion King, it doesn’t do a great job of conveying emotion through the animal’s faces and designs, but that’s a problem that is more subtle and won’t bother most people.
Other aspects of the film aren’t bad by any means, but it just feels bland. The cinematography has no character and no life, and it doesn’t really keep the audience engaged at all. The film editing isn’t effective in racketing up tension in the more perilous moments of the film, and overall, this is a movie that lacked a lot of much needed originality.
However, there are a few moments where this remake can sometimes taste the glory of the original. There are a few musical numbers that are very fun to watch, and some of the original’s iconic moments can’t help but feel sweetly nostalgic in this remake. This will definitely satisfy fans of the original even if it doesn’t last very long.
A somewhat underwhelming debut for Disney+, this is a fairly lifeless but easily consumable movie. It lacks creativity and features some pretty forgettable elements, but it should be enough to satisfy families and audiences on the small screen.
Lady and the Tramp is currently streaming on Disney+.