When it comes to Disney’s live action adaptations this year has certainly been crazy. The trend of Disney recreating their animated classics has been going on for several years now, but this year has certainly been the epitome of the trend. From Dumbo to The Lion King, this year has featured an array of titles from Disney’s vault and it is hard to imagine that studio what could come up with next. Well as it turns out there was one more film to take center stage and that would be none other than Lady and the Tramp. The 1955 film receives a new take with Charlie Bean in the director’s chair, but this adaptation comes not to the big screen but one of a more variable scale as the new movie is featured on Disney’s streaming service: Disney+. With Disney bringing new movies to this services, and the fact that I have watched the four previous adaptations from the year, I had to see this new take for myself. Truth be told Lady and the Tramp has never been a cherished classic to me so I was not expecting much from this new adaptation. However, while the film does not break new ground, I must admit Lady and the Tramp was quite enjoyable.
The story of Lady and the Tramp centers on the cocker spaniel Lady (Tessa Thompson) who one day meets a stray commonly known as Tramp (Justin Theroux). When things begin to change in Lady’s household, the cocker spaniel finds herself on an adventure with Tramp where the unlikely companions grow close showing that love can come from the most unlikely of places. When it came to the story this one follows the plot points of its animated predecessor to a tee. Yet this may have hinder the story’s execution. Although the plot is easy enough to get into, there was also little to it. The movie tries to expand on certain elements such as Tramp’s backstory, which was appreciated, but these aspects had little impact on the movie itself. This is likely do to the story’s pacing which was rather quick and to the point. Yet despite all of this I cannot say that this enchanting tale was not ineffective. As previously stated the plot is easy enough to enjoy and it does have an array of moments that made this tale a worthwhile adventure. So while this story lacked in complexity it managed to be an effective adaptation thanks to its simplicity.
While the characters of Lady and the Tramp are not the most standout members of Disney’s alumni, I must admit that I was impressed with this rendition of the cast. In the case of the two leads both Lady and Tramp were solid in both character and performance, and their chemistry together was pretty good. In the matter of the supporting cast the additional characters were fairly decent. The likes of Jock (Ashley Jenson), Trusty (Sam Elliot) and Peg (Janelle Monae) had only so much to offer the movie, but that is not to say their contribution was not unwarranted. A surprising factor to the movie was the addition of the human characters. The characters Jim (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons) had more to them then I would have expected. This is not to say these characters had their own subplots but the details seen in Lady’s owners was appreciated.
When it came to aspects such as effects and cinematography, Lady and the Tramp had a decent presentation in these areas. The effects were not the most glamorous of visuals as the cgi did not mesh well with the film’s bright cinematography; although blend between real and cg animals was efficient in execution. Speaking of the cinematography the work of Enrique Chediak proved to be beneficial as the bright colors was good at capturing the film’s respected time period. When it came to music the score by Joseph Trapanese was fitting for the movie. Like the cinematography, the music was stylized for the time period and blended the songs from the animated film decently. While some of the numbers were not too memorable, the movie certainly did justice to the more notable songs such as “He’s a Tramp” and of course “Bella Notte”.
Lady and the Tramp was a delight to say the least. While this adaptation could be too simplistic in its storytelling and delivery, the movie stills entertains with its entertaining adventure as well as its stylish presentation. How this movie measures up to its animated counterpart is uncertain, but I can say is that this new rendition has plenty of charm to it and manages to live up to the enchantment behind Lady and the Tramp.