This heartwarming take on the original 1955 animation has plenty to recommend it but just like the character Tramp – slightly rough around the edges.
Over the last few years Disney has been on a serious attempt to reimagine their classic animated films in new ways to reflect the changing society – with some being more successful than others. Now available to watch as part of its new streaming service Disney +, this interpretation of Lady and the Tramp has much to enjoy – even if there are a couple of elements which could have been slightly better.
Following the adventures of pampered pooch Lady who lives a comfortable life with Jim Dear and Darling, her life is turned upside down with the arrival of a new baby in the family. Ending up on the streets, she finds herself in the company of the cheeky rogue Tramp and learning more about the bigger world that is out beyond the garden fence.
Directed by Charlie Bean, this live action version still retains the heartwarming qualities of the original – with the focus being on family, loyalty and friendship that makes it endearing to watch. Of course, there are a few changes – in particular the siamese cats and their song is no longer in it, with the replacement cats proving to be just as mischievous but the song that goes with it not quite so good. But it is interesting to see how the story has been developed – including a backstory of how Tramp ended up on the streets that makes the character more sympathetic.
Yet it has to be said that this film isn’t completely perfect – the facial effects that are used on the dogs look really awkward at times, while the script can seem a little bit forced in places that can mean it lacks in sincerity.
However, this being said there are some lovely characterisations to be found. In particular, Sam Elliott as Trusty is suitably gruff and endearing while Ashley Jenson is a joy as the loyal if slightly underused Jock and Janelle Monáe as the sassy and street smart Peg (who also offers a fabulous rendition of ‘He’s a Tramp’). There is also a lovely warm chemistry between Tessa Thompson’s Lady and Justin Theroux’s Tramp that is really convincing.
Overall, this is trademark Disney: gently funny and heartwarming from start to finish despite the occasional flaw in the script and CGI effects used on the animals.
By Emma Clarendon