Title: Lady and the Tramp
Release Date: November 12, 2019
Director: Charlie Bean
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures | Taylor Made
The 1955 Disney animated feature Lady and the Tramp is a cute romantic comedy about jokes that attempts to derive humor through the aggressive deployment of ethnic stereotypes. Of any movie to get a modern day “live-action” remake, I figured Lady and the Tramp would be bound to be improved, especially since my favorite maybe-they’re-a-couple celebrities Tessa Thompson (as Lady) and Janelle Monáe (as Peg) were involved.
The remake succeeds at it’s basic point of being a cute, family-friendly story about dogs. It’s a movie that I expect parents will enjoy watching with their younger kids (although my kids were not interested in watching it). I’m not sure how much of the animals is CGI and how much is live animal actors, but the dogs looked like real dogs with animated faces. The cats and the rat, on the other hand look totally fake. The movie is overly long and seemingly didn’t have a director who could restrain himself from trying to make every moment magical. The movie would be improved with some judicious pruning.
The story is essentially the same as the 1955 original without the racism. In fact, the cast is racially diverse including a mix-raced couple as Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons). Hopefully no one will be watching a talking dog movie for a historically-accurate depiction of early 20th century America, but the fact that all the racial harmony is just as fantastical makes me feel a little sad.