Thursday, November 21, 2019

Review: Lady and the Tramp (2019)

Release date: November 12, 2019
Running time: 103 minutes
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Justin Theroux, Sam Elliott

As Disney continues an endless march to remake all their animated classics, they have released one exclusively for Disney's new streaming service, Disney+.  Boasting real life actors and animals that are part real, part CG, it is a pseudo live action remake of one of the most beloved Disney films of all time.  If you have not seen the original, Lady (Tessa Thompson), a dog with a good home life, is thrust into the streets and meets a scrappy dog with a heart of gold named the Tramp (Justin Theroux) who takes her under his wing and shows her the ropes.  Along the way Lady will make new friends and learn more about herself and what she can do.

Translating a film from an animated movie to a pseudo live action film can be risky, but thankfully Lady and the Tramp looks great.  Most of the film seems live action with some great sets that evoke the New Orleans feel of the original.  The animals seem to be part real animals, part CG.  They look relatively natural and I'm glad Disney didn't go full on CG for this one.  Having the live action actors and sets makes this movie feel different enough from the original, yet still evoke enough of the classic film to be recognizable.  I especially liked that an iconic eating scene was faithfully recreated with some updated jokes and additional humor.

A trend of Disney's classic remakes has been to update the movie to remove material that might be considered in poor taste and to modernize some of the character roles and plots.  This trend continues with Lady and the Tramp, and thankfully updates one scene that would be considered culturally insensitive today.  Although that scene is well known, I'm glad Disney is proactively taking on these types of scenes when doing the remakes, which ensures that the film can be enjoyed by new viewers and those who already know the story.  If there are any negatives about Lady and the Tramp, it's more to do with the general strategy of remaking Disney animated classics.  Disney changed enough to differentiate the film, but it is still a remake of a movie that many people have seen.  However, it is still an enjoyable remake and gives you something special to watch on this new streaming service.

Lady and the Tramp updates a Disney classic with a live action remake and is a worthy exclusive for Disney+.  It's a fun tale with plenty of cute animals, a nice balance of live action and CG, and a heartfelt story that will appeal to new and old viewers.

Watch it

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