Oh wow, there’s so many possibilities when it comes to opening this review. I could somewhat reformat a joke from “Zero Punctuation” about how Disney has been killing off their franchises with the efficiency that would worry the Gestapo. I could talk about how this is one of the launch titles of Disney+, which just came out in the states and how it doesn’t even graze the left buttock of the other titles Disney+ has at launch like “The Mandalorian” or the new Pixar short films like “Smash and Grab” which are amazing.
Or I could always just fall back to “Ol Reliable” and say that no one wanted a live action remake of Lady and the Tramp. I briefly touched on this in my Disney animated film review (which I now see I should have waited another few months for since everything is on Disney+), but I really enjoy the first Lady and the Tramp. It had charm and was a fun movie to watch. With this, we have one of the hardest movies I’ve had to watch for this entire year. There’s no use in delaying this doggy turd, let’s get into Lady and the Tramp.
So let’s start with the positives, and there is only one good thing in this movie and that’s the dogs. I was shocked to learn that they were not CGI because they have a lot of personality. Well, the lead dogs at least. There are a few moments throughout the film that I thought, “Wow, those dogs have got to be some of the best CG I’ve seen all year. They look so lifelike!” So naturally when I found out it was real dogs, I was somewhat disappointed, but still impressed .Of course, when we actually do get to the CG characters like the rat or the dance number in the pound, it looks terrible, but when the dogs are actually on screen, I really do think it supplies some personality to the film.
And… uh, that’s it. I mean, I like that they changed some stuff around towards the end so it’s not just The Lion King all over again where it’s nearly a shot for shot remake. However, you can’t just award points to something for not being the same recycled plot over and over again. This isn’t innovation so much as just doing something different. So, moving on to what I didn’t like and there’s a lot of it, it’s that what feels like the first seventy minutes are a shot for shot remake.
It really did feel like another Lion King almost throughout the entire movie until she gets to the pound, but it’s also somehow a lot longer. Like a half hour longer, and I don’t know what they added to make it that much longer at that point. We go through all the same motions with the fancy dinner in the back of the restaurant, but they cut a lot of other stuff. They don’t go to the zoo anymore, it’s all just a surreal zone where time does not exist and the only thing you know is that you hate it.
There’s so many other things I could bring up for another thing, the subpar voice acting, the crappy CG and terrifying mouths, but I think that the best thing to say this movie sucks is one specific scene. It comes when they have the spaghetti scene, and when they bring out the food, a man looks out of the window of the restaurant and says “They told me they were out of the special”, and something surprising happened. I laughed. It was a funny line, that had charm and made the movie likable, and it’s this scene that makes me hate this movie so much. It shows that these people can actually make something good, but they didn’t.
The director of the film has made a kids film which I found enjoyable, The Lego Ninjago Movie, and the writer of the film has also made some really solid films. So why the heck are they wasting, and not even trying to use their talents on Lady and the Tramp? Yeah, sure, a broken clock is right twice a day, but there are some other charming moments in the film. When the dog first meets the baby is adorable, and while the villain is one of the worst in recent memory, I thought that the film does use the “One Way Door” surprisingly well.
So, if that’s the case, why couldn’t they put that same amount of effort and charm into the movie? It’s just so maddening that instead of getting meaningful content, we just get the same hamfisted attempt to stay relevant with the exact same stories as before, with one or two added moments to trick people into thinking that they enjoyed the film.
I’ve watched a lot of movies for this site, and I’ve seen some bad ones in that time. Alpha, The Darkest Minds, After, but none of them were as hard to watch as Lady and the Tramp (2019) was. This was by far the hardest movie I’ve had to watch this year, which should say something about how bad it is.
I wouldn’t go so far to call it the worst movie I’ve seen all year, as I said there are competent moments, whereas a 2019 film like Airplane Mode is just stupid vine stars being stupid. However, this is the movie that I think is going to finally break the public. I thought it would be Lion King, but somehow people enjoyed that. (Looks at the Rotten Tomatoes scores for Lady and the Tramp.) Well never mind then.