When you first log in to Disney+, one of the first things you will see in the streaming competitor to Netflix’s featured category is their “original” film, ‘Lady and the Tramp’. You may either see it as yet another unnecessary live-action remake of a perfect, well-beloved animated classic, or you may bask in its warmth and glow, as you watch two rescue dogs with mouth movements more animated than Jon Favreau’s remake of ‘The Lion King’ (and voices of Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux ) trade witticisms, kiss over a candlelit spaghetti dinner, and fall in love yet again.
Despite being a remake whose existence is entirely baffling, Charlie Bean’s ‘Lady and the Tramp’ is, at least, charming in so many ways, even if its story is by-the-numbers. Of course, updates have to be made in order to appeal to this generations audience (Scottish terrier Jock is now a female voiced by Ashley Jensen, while the two Siamese cats that wreak havoc on Lady’s home have a new song that is not quite as memorable, also they are not Siamese, for obvious reasons), what you get is still more of the same formula.
Lady (Voice of Thompson) is a Cocker Spaniel who is given as a gift by Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) to his beloved Darling (Kiersey Clemons) for Christmas; the names may not have changed in this version, but we do see their faces, giving the humans just as equal focus instead of just being through the eyes of a dog. Eventually, Lady grows up to be a beloved dog, visiting her friends, Jock and elderly bloodhound Trusty (Voiced to perfection by Sam Elliott), and making sure a pesky rat stays out of the house.
Things change when Darling is expecting a baby, causing Lady to become curious and question whether her owners will still love her and treat her as part of the family, leading to a run-in with stray mutt who goes by “Tramp” (Voice of Theroux) with a distrust for humans and a hustlers street-smart demeanor. As the story goes, their paths cross and they bond, causing a romance to blossom.
What makes this live-action remake work, besides the casting of rescue animals, is the chemistry between Theroux and Thompson, despite being voices of dogs; they get into their roles to where you feel Lady and Tramp are actually emoting and talking. The CG is not a huge distraction and a huge improvement over ‘The Lion King’. While you take in its atmosphere. Disney lovers will find the warmth while families will come together and admire its themes. It is as good as a live-action Disney remake can be.