Based on the 1955 Disney animated classic, 'Lady and the Tramp' follows two dogs leading very different lifestyles. A sheltered cocker Spaniel named Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) finds that her owners Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons) have been distracted and neglectful recently. Tramp (Justin Theroux), a homeless mutt who steals food and causes much trouble for the local dogcatcher (Adrian Martinez), tells Lady it's because there's a Baby on the way. The pair of them end up spending a fateful day and night wandering around the city together.
This iteration of 'Lady and the Tramp' marks the first Disney CGI/live-action remake to not receive a theatrical release. To most, that would indicate a red flag. But really, this latest remake is about as mediocre - no better, no worse - than all the others that preceded it. None of these Disney remakes need to exist. As with previous cases, the original of this is far superior. But while they keep churning them out, we might as well assess them fairly.
The 2019 (when it was released in the US) edition of 'Lady and the Tramp' has the advantage of being a "dog movie". As with 'A Dog's Purpose' and 'Marley and Me', or more recently, 'The Call of the Wild', it's nice, easy-going, and has that adorable canine cast (even if they are computer-generated for the most part). There are a couple of laudable casting choices too - especially Sam Elliott as the old bloodhound Trusty, and F. Murray Abraham as Tony.
As for the leads, Tessa Thompson's voice sounds out of place, or perhaps the issue is more owing to the modernisation of Lady. The whole point is she is meant to be the posh, mannerly opposite of Tramp. In this movie, the spaniel is an obedient and for the most part mild-tempered, companion but hardly fancy. Ashley Jensen (who also lent her voice in 'Arthur Christmas' too) works far better as the Scottish terrier Jock. You'd almost forget that the character was male in the animated version.
Fans of the 1955 feature will readily admit there were some dodgy aspects to it. But don't worry, Disney has ironed such issues out. The Siamese cats have a whole new number that isn't racist. Meanwhile, the fairly saucy number "He's a Tramp" (originally sang by the brilliant Peggy Lee, Janelle Monae croons it in the remake) no longer includes lines about Tramp's player ways. The musical numbers are generally downplayed in the movie. But that "Bella Notte" spaghetti scene is still there shot for shot and note for note. Generally, it's everything you'd expect of a Disney live-action remake, including some padding out. Fine and forgettable.
'Lady and the Tramp' is available on Disney+ from launch Tuesday 24th March.