Disney+ has launched to a great deal of fanfare, but one of its biggest original offerings, a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp, is getting mixed reviews. The new Disney live-action remake stars Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux as the two titular characters. The pampered Lady enjoys her gated life with her loving family. However, after her exchange with the tough stray named Tramp, Lady questions her place in life and where she belongs moving forward. Lady goes on an unexpected adventure with Tramp, where they come to understand what takes to consider somewhere a home.
Lady and the Tramp marks Disney’s fourth live-action remake of 2019 alone, following in the footsteps of other reimaginings Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King, the latter two of which both grossed over $1 billion at the box-office. Unlike the previous three remakes, Lady and the Tramp won’t be competing at the box-office, but is instead instantly accessible to all subscribers of Disney+ from day one.
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As is the case with the other 2019 Disney live-action remakes, Lady and the Tramp has received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a critics score of 64%, while its audience score is a marginally better 66% at the time of writing. While Lady and the Tramp currently has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of the Disney remakes of 2019, it also has far fewer critics rating the film than the cinematic releases. Here’s what critics have to criticize about the Disney+ film:
“Suffice it to say that even on a smaller screen, attributing anthropomorphic qualities to photoreal fauna remains a Disney stumbling block.”
“Probably the dullest to date of the live-action (or quasi-live) remakes of beloved Disney animated films… further explores the limitations of having real (or digitally realistic) critters stand-in for the talking animals of yesteryear.”
“Our carbon-based hero couple transform into computer-generated chimeras every time they open their mouths…Lady and the Tramp might take a different route than The Lion King, but it winds up in the same depths of the uncanny valley.”
“Watching the remake over-explain every joke and dramatic beat only increases one’s appreciation for how the original trusted its young audience to understand subtext, satire, and emotional nuance.”
“Lady and the Tramp is quite the mild ride. Its marriage of computer animation with real dogs may be impressive, but it’s aimed at kids, and they won’t care.”
Critics almost unanimously agree that Lady and the Tramp is an inferior version of the original film that simplifies the story too much in order to cater to the youngest of audiences. The biggest criticism among reviewers, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the unsettling CGI incorporated onto the real animal’s faces to make them talk. Similar to the criticism the live-action Lion King received earlier this year, critics aren’t overly impressed with the technology that goes into making the photorealistic animals speak. No matter if the animals are fully computer-generated or real dogs on set with CGI on their faces, critics are not pleased with the end results, which dive into uncanny valley territory. Even when looking at the positive reviews for Lady and the Tramp, the overall consensus simply declares the Disney+ film as passable for families and children:
“In the comfort of one’s own home, Bean’s mostly faithful remake can probably be appreciated for all it is – briefly entertaining and pretty darned cute.”
“Lady and the Tramp works well enough on its own simple terms as watchable, competently made home viewing.”
“As far as feel-good fantasies go, it isn’t so bad.”
Even comparing the audience scores between Lady and the Tramp and Disney’s other live-action remakes this year, the film is not as praised as being a must-watch. The Disney+ exclusive appears to have ended up as only mildly entertaining for families with young kids, and even then is seemingly just harmless rather than anything great. If you’ve seen the movie, let us know what you thought of it in the comments.
Key Release Dates
- Mulan (2020) release date: Mar 27, 2020
- Jungle Cruise (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020
- Cruella (2021) release date: May 28, 2021
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