When it comes to movie making, Disney is a mega beast and a force to be reckoned with. Let’s be honest, Disney (and all of the companies that Disney owns) has already proved ridiculously popular on television and the big screen, and with Disney + now a big part of many lockdown lives, it’s now taking over the streaming world. With over 50 million subscriptions in the five months since it’s US release date, Disney + hit the UK just when we all needed the entertainment. With countless movies and classic TV series, it’s hours of fun and nostalgia, and that’s before you even start to look through all of new stuff.
When the trailers for Disney + original content were first released, there was one thing that caught peoples attention. And I am not talking about a cute baby alien. No, I’m talking about cute dogs. In recent years, live action remakes have been Disney’s bread and butter, and it was only right that they launched their streaming service with a brand new one that couldn’t be watched any where else. And, to be fair, who can resist a cute dog? I think that most people know the story of Lady and the Tramp, the spoilt house dog falling in love with a stray down on his luck and the romantic adventures they go on together whilst trying to stay away from the dog catcher.
Unlike Disney’s last animal led live action remake (The Lion King), this new version of Lady and the Tramp is not simply a frame for frame remake with hyper realistic animation. Several changes have been made to the story, some subtle and some more obvious. Whilst The Lion King has no human characters, this film does meaning that not only do we see a number of good performances from talented actors and actresses, but we also get to see a number of real and adorable dogs. Animal stars Rose and Monte play the roles of Lady and Tramp respectively, and both are simply charming. Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux provide the voices and both do well to bring the much loved characters to life. We also hear the vocal talents of Sam Elliot, Ashey Jenson and Jonelle Monae as Trusty, Jock and Peg respectively. The dogs are cute, that cannot be denied, but that being said, I have to admit that the animation on their faces to make their mouths move to the dialogue was a little bit creepy in places.
You may have noticed that I said that Ashley Jenson provides the voice for Jock here, and I know what you are thinking. Wasn’t Scottie dog Jock male in the animated original? Well, yes that was the case, but now Jock (short for Jacqueline) is female and her owner’s favourite model for her art. That’s one of the main changes in this version, with the other being the major change in the character’s of Aunt Sarah’s siamese cats. It was announced rather early on in the production process that the famous ‘We are Siamese’ song would not be featured in this movie, due to changes in society. Instead the twin cats (now of the Devon Rex breed but still as creepy as ever) sing another song entitled ‘What A Shame’. I won’t tell you about another change that I noticed, as it could be considered a spoiler.
In terms of the rest of the music that we all know and love from the original, we still see the favourites with ‘He’s A Tramp’ remaining in the pound scene and, of course, the famous ‘Bella Notte’ in it’s equally famous scene.
Thomas Mann and Kiersey Clemons play the roles of Jim Dear and Darling, alongside Yvette Nicole Brown as Aunt Sarah and Adrain Martinez as dog catcher Elliot. A talented human cast that bring the characters from the animated classic to life, with much more depth that was in that original. In the animated movie (made back in 1955), it really was all about the animals, with the human characters pushed aside. We see a lot more of them here, and it adds to it wonderfully in my opinion.
To conclude, the 2019 live action remake of Lady and the Tramp is charming and easy watching escapism. Perfect family viewing that will keep all ages occupied for a couple of hours during the lockdown. The changes, be they big or subtle, add to the story instead of distract from it and I challenge you not to say ‘awww’ at least once at the cuteness of it’s animal stars.