It’s finally here! Disney+ has launched and families are binging on their favorite classics, Disney+ original series and more! One of the options that has been available right from the start is the live action remake of the 1955 animated Disney classic Lady and The Tramp. I had the chance to see it a little early during the recent Geekly Retreat I attended, but that didn’t stop me from jumping right into watching it again as soon as Disney+ was live!
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Lady And The Tramp on Disney+ ~ Updated and Awesome
The 1955 classic tells the tale of the relationship journey between a pampered house dog and a tough, but lovable, stray. The story now told through 2019 eyes is still very much the same in that it still takes us an adventure with two very different souls who eventually grow closer together as they both learn to understand and appreciate the value of home.
The most recent version is just as endearing, charming and sentimental as the first and it continues to appeal to our emotional side. However, in this 2019 rendition, we see Disney taking us an unexpected adventure that may challenge some in their thinking. The artistic and creative license the writers, directors and producers exercised ends up being a gift in that it gives the audience an opportunity to step closer and closer to the point where we no longer see diversity as a stumbling block, but rather as the celebrated norm.
About Lady and The Tramp…
Lady is the proud American cocker spaniel of Jim Dear and Darling. She is the center of their world and is quite comfortable in that position. However, when a baby enters the picture, Lady faces a level of uncertainty in her relationship with her “family” and wonders what went wrong.
When Jim Dear and Darling go away for a short trip, Aunt Sarah, who is by no means a dog person, comes in to watch the house. Circumstances present and, in time, Aunt Sarah is off with Lady to pick up a restrictive muzzle. Lady, in protest, fights against the muzzle and ultimately breaks free, only to find herself alone and collarless on the streets.
Cue Tramp’s entrance.
Now, the two have actually met by this point, but this is where the relationship begins to take shape. Being on the street without a collar, Lady is unaware of what to expect and Tramp feels he is the one who can guide her in her newly found life on the streets. What is nice about the 2019 version is that Lady doesn’t appear to be “needy” or as if she is a “damsel in distress.” She has quite a strong personality and is fully capable of standing on her own two….I mean, four feet. She is also strong enough to recognize when she is unfamiliar, unaware and in need of some help from a friend.
From the iconic spaghetti dinner by candlelight to the moonlight stroll under the stars, Lady and The Tramp begin to develop a trust in each other that tugs on the heart strings of all. Sadly, that bond must ultimately be tested, as with any movie of this kind.
In the end, however, they learn that, despite their differences, their friendship is genuine. They can both appreciate what the other has endured or experienced.
What stayed the same
The musical score remains and takes us right back to the early 20th century to set the scene with perfection. The opening and closing of the current story give a nod to the original animated feature and the story’s characters remain as they always have. We may even see a little more depth to one or two of them.
Throughout the movie, there are several nods to the animated classic, so keep your eyes opened and ready to spot them. I don’t want to give too many away, so we’ll just say they are there to make you smile.
What is different?
Well, the most obvious difference is that this is a live-action movie rather than an animated film. However, while there are real people and real dogs on set, there is an element of digital work incorporated, as well. Dogs don’t talk, so any dialogue between them had to be created on a computer and it was done with extreme precision. In fact, there are moments in the film when the dogs themselves are completely computer generated, but those moments are much more difficult to spot than you would think.
There are a few excerpts from the original story-line that were adjusted to make things flow a little better for live action. For one, Aunt Sarah isn’t babysitting the baby in the recent telling of the tale. In fact, she doesn’t even get the opportunity to hold the baby in the movie.
Another adjustment is that our favorite Scottish terrier, Jock, is a female in this movie and, believe it or not, she fits in quite well.
Any other story-line adjustments that were made are fairly benign and do not seem to affect the outcome all that much. Whether it’s a change in how Lady is caught, how Lady gets home or what happens to Trusty in the end, the story stays intact and remains the charming, romantic tale we have all come to know and love.
So, let’s talk about one other fairly obvious change..
Disney took a giant step with this film and incorporated tremendous diversity. Yes, it strays from historical accuracy, but the story isn’t about history. It’s about talking dogs, which in and of itself demonstrates creative license. In fact, attention was never drawn towards any of the cultural changes that were made within the story-line.
It was a beautiful way to say social norms have changed and that talent is to be celebrated and utilized no matter who you are, your gender or the color of your skin. The goal is, as eloquently stated by Adrian Martinez (The Dog Catcher in the film) during our interview time, to “get to a point where no one even has to say those words ~ diversity ~ because it’s the new normal.” This movie is simply one more small step in the right direction.
What I loved about the movie
It was easy to fall in love with the story-line and how it emphasizes family and connection. I love how trust is earned, tested and proven among friends and that friendship is something of tremendous value.
I absolutely adore the voices they chose for each of the characters. Tessa Thompson possesses both an elegance and a strength in her tonality, making her the perfect match for Lady. Justin Theroux has that laid back quality in his voice that easily captures the fun and scrappiness that is Tramp. Adrian Martinez is absolutely brilliant as the dog catcher, demonstrating that the villain isn’t always the bad guy. He just may very well be a misunderstood individual who longs for validation. Interestingly, Yvette Nicole Brown takes on a different role in the movie as she plays the cat-loving aunt who is not fond of Lady in the least.
What I didn’t like about the movie
Honestly – there isn’t much to share here! I admit that I was at first taken back by the creative license used with regard to the historical aspect of the story-line. However, that’s because I’m a stickler for authenticity and for no other reason. I absolutely fell in love with the cast selection and believe they did a marvelous job telling this story. The cast fit beautifully together – it was a perfect portrait.
We have to keep in mind that this is a Disney film. We have come to expect Disney writers, animators and actors to broaden our horizons and teach us to think outside the box.
Would I recommend:
Absolutely! Beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s a wholesome movie that stirs all the feels on the inside.
What you should know:
There is no profanity, no nudity and nothing inappropriate. There are several chase scenes and the dog catcher does pursue the dogs with intensity at times.
In the scene at the pound, there is a reference to one dog being led to his demise.
There is a rat that runs around in a few scenes. This may be a little tough for those who are squeamish about rodents (not a fan myself, to be honest).
There is also a scene where the cradle falls and it is implied that the baby is inside. However, you don’t see the baby fall and no one is actually hurt.
There is a “carriage / vehicle” accident near the end that gives the impression that someone is hurt, but all is well.
Disney hit a home run with this live action remake. I’ve seen it twice by the time of this post’s publication and I plan to see it more often. The digital effects are fairly spot on and the emotion evoked by the dialogue, music and setting is sincere and personal. It’s a heartwarming, romantic adventure that should be enjoyed by all.
So, enjoy Lady and The Tramp, now available on Disney+ for all who have subscribed. Open up your mind, your heart and maybe even your arms (to adopting a puppy?).
Follow the romantic adventure:
PERSONAL NOTE: On the riverboat they play the song You Made Me Love You. I sang that song as a solo in an SRO musical revue in high school. So, the song has sentimental value to me. I love where they placed it and how it fits inside the story.
**All photos courtesy of Disney+, Disney Studios