Lady and the Tramp (2019)
The Dove Take:
Disney+’s first major release carries much of the humor and adventure of the original, animated film, while also retaining a sense of innocence that will appeal to all ages.
When Jim brings Lady, a cocker spaniel, home to his wife Darling, he has no idea what adventures lie in store for their new dog once she meets street-smart Schnauzer known as the Tramp.
Disney handed the keys to the remake of its 1955 hit animated adventure Lady & the Tramp to Director Charlie Bean (Lego Ninjago Movie), and he admirably delivers a live-action retelling of the story that will delight families who’ve enjoyed Dumbo, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King already.
While the film finds itself on Disney+ instead of in theaters, it boasts a top-shelf voice cast like Tessa Thompson (“Lady”), Justin Theroux (“Tramp”), and Sam Elliott (“Trusty”), and actors like Kiersey Clemons, Thomas Mann, Yvette Nicole Brown, and F. Murray Abraham. Every time that the Disney vault is opened up, and the Mouse’s team turns out a live-action remake, I expect to cringe. But the end product for each of the films has been entrancing, a blending of wistful times gone by mixed with something fresh for new audiences.
Lady and the Tramp is no different, thanks to the company’s focus on natural animation, and the delivery of performance by the cast and voice actors is stellar. Of course, the latest version of the story, first based on Ward Greene’s “Happy Dan, the Cynical Dog,” still finds Aunt Sarah (Brown) and the dog catcher (Adrian Martinez) causing problems for Lady and the Tramp, but the dynamic tension, the potential for separation from Lady’s human family or each other, is what drives the two dogs closer together.
Yes, there are some tense moments between Lady and first the rat, then Aunt Sarah and her Siamese cats, and finally, with the dog catcher, but for the most part, the film is sweet and innocent. Besides, you know you want to see them recreate the spaghetti scene, right?
Families will be able to discuss situations where characters from “opposite sides of the tracks” find their commonalities and learn to see those situations from another “person’s” perspective. It also encourages humans to be attentive to the way that animals might feel and to create a welcoming environment for all kinds of creatures and personalities. Dove awards this film Approval for All Ages.
(In the end, this may even be the encouragement your family needs to foster (or adopt) an animal without a home!)