Then vs Now: Lady and the Tramp

Released 06/22/1955                              Rated: G

Now that I’m old enough to appreciate these movies, I can’t help but be amazed. The animation is incredible. The backgrounds are beautiful and the animals impressive! Not just the way they move, but how they react to things. For instance, when Lady is a puppy she doesn’t want to be alone at night she cries and constantly gets out of bed and eventually figures out a way upstairs. When Aunt Sarah takes her to the pet shop and the clerk puts a muzzle on her, Lady freaks out and runs away. The look of worry on her face as she’s being chased by bigger dogs. She even runs faster at one point. You can really tell that a ton of preparation went into this movie.

There are plenty of little things in this movie that contribute to the awesomeness of the feature. The scene in the beginning where Lady buries the bone in the backyard and in realizing that she upturned a tulip stands it up on its head before trotting away tickles me more than it should. I find it playfully absurd that their names are Jim Dear and Darling, which sound like pet names, but they’re their actual names. I love how this movie presents pregnancy. They’re in the middle of what looks to be a blizzard in January and Jim Dear calls up “Are you sure you want watermelon?” Like, there’s no way he’s going to find watermelon at this time of year. And Darling calls down that she also wants chop suey. Those pesky pregnancy cravings!

But it’s Tramp’s interactions with Lady that really stand out to me. He sees her getting chased and then cornered by bigger dogs, then comes to her rescue and fights them off. He asks her what she’s doing way out here, but when he sees the muzzle he instantly feels bad and helps her find someone to get it off. And after Aunt Sarah picks Lady up from the pound and Tramp goes to check on her and she tells him off, he immediately comes back when he hears her barking. When she says there’s a rat in the baby’s room he doesn’t even hesitate. “How do I get in?”

But the sweetest part of the whole movie is Lady trying to figure out what a baby is. The dogs’ different perspectives was always a favorite scene of mine. Jock and Trusty struggle with a definite definition, but Tramp’s depiction is still hilarious, and it’s easy for both Lady and the viewer to understand. And even after they all tell Lady, she still isn’t quite sure and has to go see for herself once it arrives.

 

Released 11/12/2019                              Rated:PG

So I didn’t even see a trailer for this version. All of a sudden I saw it was going to be available with the launch of Disney+. And like with all of these live action adaptations that have been coming out, I revisited the classic animated beforehand, which I should probably stop doing because it just makes it all the more apparent how much is missing in these remakes.

The biggest concern with a talking-dog movie is obviously going to be the animals. It’s not bad. It took me a little getting used to it as I don’t watch too many of these kinds of movies. There’s worse CGI talking animal faces out there, all though both the classic spaghetti scene and Peg’s song were hands down the worst moments. What this movie needed was the CGI artists who worked on The Jungle Book and The Lion King. Both of those films managed to get it to look natural. Is that because the entire animal was a fabrication?

CGI aside, my biggest issue with these live action adaptations in general is the pacing of their respective tales. Despite the much shorter run time on the animated features, their stories feel natural and the events taking place build off each other. The remakes, to me, feel as though they’re required to hit the familiar beats no matter what. The story no longer flows because it’s lost the weight behind the actions.

For instance, they completely cut out anything pertaining to Lady trying to figure out what a baby is. Instead they just have Tramp telling Lady that when a baby moves in a dog moves out. And they don’t even do it that well!! The animated showed us so that we understood before telling us the line, and they ended up with a great scene. This version gives me nothing!

There’s really nothing that stands out about this movie for me. It was cute for a live action telling, but in the end none of it drew me in to captivate me. Bummer. All I can say is that was one brave ass rat picking a fight with a dog.

 

 

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