Lady and the Tramp (2019) Nov 21, 2019 16:28:31 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Nov 21, 2019 16:28:31 GMT -5
Lady and the Tramp (2019)
Directed by: Charlie Bean
Directed by: Charlie Bean
It's amazing given the overwhelming infatuation people have with dogs (as opposed to cats, the far superior species, but that's neither here nor there), how many lackluster dog movies exist. If they're not mawkish (A Dog's Purpose), aggressively juvenile (Show Dogs), or downright asinine (Good Boy!), they're apparently needless regurgitations of old properties, like Lady and the Tramp. All I ask is that if we're going to saturate the landscape of mainstream cinema with films about canines, we at least remember films like Shiloh, and do our best to keep that spirit.
Charlie Bean's Lady and the Tramp is the latest Disney film to receive the transition to "the real world" by way of technological advancements. Released on Disney's subscription video-on-demand service, Disney+, on its launch date, its easy to look at the live-action update of one of the most timeless animated romances as the runt of an already unremarkable litter. But after the dead-eyed soullessness of The Lion King several months ago, and what looks to be another forgettable effort with next year's Mulan, it's something of a minor blessing to see real animals (real-life shelter dogs, nonetheless) function in a mostly wholesome fashion against gorgeous backdrops complete with pleasant costumes.
Part of the reason Lady and the Tramp works well is because it doesn't try to be anything more than a nimble story about a budding romance between two dogs from vastly different walks of life. It might be long in the tooth (103 minutes versus the slim and trim 73 minute runtime of the 1955 film), and sporadically boring, but it sticks to a formula that worked so many decades ago and still has the ability to resonate with audiences today. I mean, people aren't going to stop liking dogs anytime soon.
Tessa Thompson (Men in Black: International) loans her voice to Lady, a pretty cocker spaniel who is taken in by a dainty young couple, Jim Dear (Thomas Mann, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons, Heart Beats Loud). After a few weeks of being the apple of her owners' eyes, she notices little things, such as her walk schedule being disrupted and her puppy behavior, are becoming more burdensome on her humans. That's because they're expecting a baby.
Enter a mangy stray dog, known only as "Tramp" (Justin Theroux), who spends his days avoiding an obsessive dogcatcher (Adrian Martinez, I Feel Pretty) and scrounging for food. He finds his way into Lady's backyard, where he takes refuge long enough to dodge the dogcatcher and tell Lady to expect everything to change when the baby is born. Sure enough, the baby steals most of the attention from little Lady, and after Aunt Sarah's (Yvette Nicole Brown, Drake & Josh) cats destroy the family living room and she takes a muzzle to the poor dog, she runs away with Tramp, who teaches her the ways of strays. And yes, an inadvertent kiss still occurs over a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in the back of an Italian restaurant.
Due to our past social norms causing all sorts of hoopla in the present, things have indeed been omitted from this remake. The controversial "Siamese Cat Song" has been replaced — probably for the better — by a generic song that serves as decent background music while the cats cause riff-raff. An evil-looking black rat now serves as a needless antagonist, and the famous Peggy Lee number "He's a Tramp" has undergone a pretty significant update.
In the 1955 feature, Lee sang, “If he’s a tramp, he’s a good one. And I wish that I could travel his way," as if the singer was a tad envious of the Tramp's free and easy ways. The new lyrics, lovely sung by Janelle Monáe, go: “If he’s a tramp, then who needs him? We know he’ll always stay that way.” Its cutesy reworking recalls how "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has been sent through the ringer as of late, before having its lyrics recently modified by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson to be considered less antagonistic and offputting in a post-#MeToo climate. Such changes as the lyrics to "He's a Tramp" are suspect in principle, but it's nothing worth causing a stir over.
Lady and the Tramp is a supremely well-decorated picture, with detail-oriented costumes and gentle lighting accentuating a warm and cozy vibe throughout. It's easy on the eyes, and its elegance serves as apt eye candy during some otherwise vanilla moments, many of which didn't exist in the original film because not only was it so rooted in being a cartoon, but it was also notably shorter. Stretching this story an extra 28 minutes, give or take, doesn't add a lot, yet the voice-acting fits and the dogs speak in a way that's, for once, not obtuse and unsettling. For a cash-grab dumped on a first-tier VOD platform, I guess what I'm saying is, you could do far worse, and that applies to the many parents whose children may or may not want this film on repeat throughout the holiday season.
NOTE: My review of the original Lady and the Tramp: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/6341/lady-tramp-1955
Voiced by: Tessa Thompson, Justin Theroux, Sam Elliott, Ashley Jensen, Janelle Monáe. Starring: Thomas Mann, Kiersey Clemons, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Adrian Martinez. Directed by: Charlie Bean.