• Jasmine Holly Bullock

Lady and the Tramp 2019 Film Review

This Lady and the Tramp is a remake of the much loved 1955 Disney film of the same name. Unlike other Disney films, this film skipped the cinemas and went straight to streaming on Disney+... clever tactic! Lady and the Tramp follows the story of a well looked after American Cocker Spaniel, named ‘Lady’, who suddenly finds herself on the street and in company of a mutt, named ‘Tramp’. Lady and the Tramp go on a few adventures and in the process, Tramp opens up Lady’s eyes about the way others live.

At first, Lady and the Tramp appeared to have a decent voice cast, with actors such as Tessa Thompson, Justin Theroux, Janelle Monáe and many more notable cast members. Janelle Monáe was a great choice for voicing Peg, and her singing abilities certainly came in handy too. Justin Theroux was brilliant at voicing the tramp; he managed to capture the tramp’s carefree and cocky ways. I was really pleased with Theroux’s performance... the same cannot be said for the others.

Lady, voiced by Tessa Thompson, did not meet my expectations at all but this may have more to do with the character of Lady herself, she is bossy and spoilt! This personality is a huge difference from Lady’s original personality type. In the 1955 film she was super sweet and naive, which I think made her more likable. That innocence is lost in this new film and I found Lady rather annoying.

The character of Jock was changed from male to female, which I think was an interesting yet unnecessary choice. If you’re going to change a role, you might as well make the change worth it because the added storyline for jock was also unnecessary and I would have preferred if they paid attention to other characters instead. For example, Trusty was really neglected as a character in this film. Trusty is intended to be a comical character but in this he seemed very morose and much too serious.

Aunt Sarah’s character, played by Yvette Nicole Brown, also wasn’t given much thought. I remember, as a child, one of the Disney characters I hated the most was Aunt Sarah ... she was pure evil. Conversely, she is presented as mildly irritating and that is all in Charlie Bean (director) and Bringham Taylor’s (producer) production. This was such a letdown. Although, I don’t know how much I can blame the dull performances on the actors, when it seems to be character choices decided by the writers and director that is the problem.

The soundtrack was disappointing, most of songs lacked oomph. I enjoyed Janelle Monáe’s version of ‘He’s a Tramp’ and the lullaby song was great too. However, my favourite song from the original film was Bella Notte, and the rendition of this song in the 2019 version is so lacklustre and not as hearty as the original. The no-longer Siamese twins’ new song was unmemorable, almost as unmemorable as Princess Jasmine’s new song in the 2019 production of Aladdin. I understand they probably changed the original song and characters due to issues surrounding cultural insensitivity, but they should have put more effort into the replacement song. The one thing you really cannot afford to mess up in Disney films are the songs!

Let’s talk about the CGI. Initially I was optimistic about the CGI although, I had no idea how disconcerting it would be to see the realms of realistic and non-realistic mixed. Seeing realistic looking dogs move their mouths in unrealistic ways is slightly disturbing. Also, some of the CGI designs weren’t the best, for example: the positioning of Lady’s back legs make her look like she has hip disorder and her docked tail also left me uneasy. Maybe an approach more like the 2001 film Cats & Dogs would have been better, with less CGI and the voice of the dogs not being accompanied by odd facial movements.

I think children who are used to seeing CGI and aren’t too prejudiced because of a love for original Disney cartoon productions, will probably really enjoy this film. But even then, it’s not the best children’s film; it lacks whimsicality, there’s nothing special about it. Usually Disney films can be enjoyed by all however, I don’t think anyone over 10 will enjoy this because it’s a tad too simple and overly childish.

Would I recommend this film? If you have the time to watch a film, just watch the original Lady and the Tramp. Sometimes old school is best.



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