Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Lady and the Tramp (2019)

Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Lady and the Tramp (2019)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Musical
Length: 103 minutes
Rating:  PG
Production/Distribution: Taylor Made, The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Pictures, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director: Charlie Bean
Writers: Andrew Bujalski, Kari Granlund
Actors: Tessa Thompson, Sam Elliott, Kiersey Clemons, Justin Theroux, Janelle MonĂ¡e, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ashley Jensen, Ken Jeong, Kate Kneeland, F. Murray Abraham, Thomas Mann, James Bentley, Benedict Wong

Blurb from IMDb:  The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog and a streetwise downtown Mutt.

Cat’s Point of View:
Aside from The Mandalorian (2019-), this new live-action spin on Lady and the Tramp was something my family – more specifically my daughter – had been looking forward to with the release of the new Disney+ platform.

I had some initial reservations, as evidenced by the film’s lack of presence within my Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in November 2019 article. Now don’t get me wrong. I understand that Disney is keen to take a stab at remaking all (or most) of their animated classics with a ‘live’ treatment. I’m curious and even somewhat excited to see how some of them will turn out. This just wasn’t one of those I was over the moon about.

There are just so many iconic moments within the original animated movie that wouldn’t translate well to a modern movie or audience. My case in point would be the alterations that were made to make the film more culturally sensitive and to incorporate diversity. Let’s put aside the period accuracy. That wasn’t what bugged me.

I applaud the casting for this new retelling. I can’t find fault with anyone, to be honest. I was even giddy that Sam Elliott (Rock Dog, The Ranch, A Star Is Born) voiced Trusty. I didn’t mind that the characters’ ethnicities were swapped around.

I was also impressed that quite a few of the dogs used during the filming were rescues and all had found forever homes by the end of production. There’s even a message advocating pet adoption during the end credits. Kudos to Disney, indeed. 

If I’m being honest, it was the cats. I know, I know – it’s a movie about dogs. All the same, one of my favorite parts of the animated movie as a child was the “Siamese Cat Song.” It was funny and a catchy tune. I can still remember most of the words to this day, and I haven’t watched Lady and the Tramp nearly as often as most other Disney movies I enjoy. I get why it changed. I even commented to my husband as we watched the movie that I understood. I’m not faulting them for it, necessarily. The new replacement song and its devilish feline duo are great for the modern retelling. It just didn’t have the same catchy zing to me.

Overall, the changes weren’t deal-breakers. They just didn’t have me falling head-over-heels for this new interpretation. My daughter really enjoyed the movie, so there’s that at least. I don’t think she formed as close an attachment to the original animated film when she watched it years ago.

If anyone told me they had a Disney+ subscription and were thinking of watching this film, I wouldn’t steer them away at all. I just wouldn’t list this movie as one of the reasons to purchase a subscription to the service. It was fine, really. Likely, those that are super attached to the original for whatever reason may have a similar reaction. This film will likely be perfect for new audiences freshly introduced to the story.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 65%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 52%
Metascore – 48%
Metacritic User Score – 5.9/10
IMDB Score – 6.3/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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