Lady and the Tramp (2019)

Adam Lenhardt

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Title: Lady and the Tramp

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Director: Charlie Bean

Cast: Tessa Thompson, Justin Theroux, Kiersey Clemons, Thomas Mann, Ashley Jensen, Benedict Wong, Janelle Monáe, Yvette Nicole Brown, Arturo Castro, Adrian Martinez, Sam Elliott

Release: 2019-11-12

Plot: The love story between a pampered Cocker Spaniel named Lady and a streetwise mongrel named Tramp. Lady finds herself out on the street after her owners have a baby and is saved from a pack by Tramp, who tries to show her to live her life footloose and collar-free.

 

benbess

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Looks better than I expected!

Just go ahead and sign me up for Disney + already....
 

benbess

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Yeah, I love the original and nothing will replace that. But having watched it dozens of times since c.1968, I'm ok with trying out a remake.
 

Thomas Newton

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So, only as a streaming release... not in theaters this time?

Interesting approach.
When Disney bypasses the movie theaters and goes direct to video, that is said to be an indicator that a movie is likely to be ... wait for it ...

a real dog.
 
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Jake Lipson

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I think that used to be the case with many of the direct-to-video sequels from the '90s and early 2000s, but I don't think that's necessarily the case here.

I think it's more likely that Disney wants premium exclusive content in order to help launch Disney+ successfully. And they probably also think there is an audience for this remake, but it might not be as wide as some of their others. Look at Dumbo, which made only $353 million worldwide on a reported budget of $170 million. That's more than likely a loss on Disney's balance sheet -- not an out-and-out disaster by any means, especially in Disney's banner year when they have so many other behemoths -- but it is way less than the billion-dollar trifecta of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. So combine the need for buzzy exclusives and the dip in box office for Dumbo, and it makes sense that they would try this one on streaming.

That being said, I have no real interest in seeing a remake of Lady and the Tramp so will probably skip this and stick to the original. I've had enough of watching Disney mess with my favorite films for this year. Also, something about putting CG facial features on real dogs just makes that trailer and poster look creepy to me.
 
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Mike Frezon

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Peg and I watched this today...as our way of breaking in our new subscription to Disney+.

It wasn't very good. That's not much of a surprise to me.

What did surprise me is that I didn't HATE the CGI talking dogs. But it would have been better if their mouths didn't move.

It added nothing, though, and I didn't see the need for Disney to revisit it.

The locales (the movie was filmed in Savannah, GA) were absolutely beautiful, however. It was a gorgeous movie to watch--with dogs! Peg and I had an opportunity to visit Savannah a couple of years ago and fell in love with the place.
 

Jake Lipson

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Peg and I watched this today...as our way of breaking in our new subscription to Disney+.
The reason is the same as the remakes Disney has been producing for a while now, and that of course is money. In the case of Aladdin and The Lion King this summer, it was to make a billion dollars at the box office while feeding other divisions of the company with merchandise, increased visibility for the Broadway show, etc.

In the case of Lady and the Tramp, where they felt the box office might not have been up to those lofty heights this is a valuable piece of content that they can promote as an exclusive to Disney+. Lots of people who love Star Wars went to The Mandelorian first, but they obviously wanted to have something available at launch for fans of the "Disney" side of things too, and this is what they settled on. If subscribers feel they got something cool by being able to watch it, then mission accomplished. If people who don't like Star Wars or Marvel want to subscribe to watch Lady and the Tramp, then mission accomplished.
 

Mike Frezon

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We've discussed this very point, Jake with each one of these live action remakes.

And I get it. But I think, in the long run, the Mouse is undercutting it's assets with these obvious cash grabs. They need to produce new features (such as they have with Frozen, Moana, etc.) or run the risk of being known as a company which only looks back rather than forward.

These remakes just aren't advancing the ball. Good in the short term, but we'll see what their long-term impact is for Disney.

And, in the meantime, I keep watching them and left feeling empty.
 

Jake Lipson

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I agree with almost everything you said. I think the remakes in general are basically the new direct-to-video sequels. Disney is spending a lot more money on them, making them look much more polished, and making more short-term impact with visible box office hits. But they are essentially doing the same thing in terms of extending Disney's most famous brands with a new piece of content to make more money.

Long-term, the direct-to-video sequels were derided by fans but didn't have much of an impact. Nowadays, you often can't buy the originals on their own. I own The Hunchback of Notre Dame II and Mulan II only because they are literally on the same disc as the original film. Disney knows that, even though they made a mint selling DVDs to kids the first time the sequels came out, not very many people like them, so they wouldn't be able to sell them on their own again. It's annoying to me that I have to put up with these in order to own the originals on Blu-ray, but their legacy is so insubstantial that they have essentially been reduced to the status of a bonus feature. No one really thinks about them much or remembers them fondly, but they also don't do anything really to damage the reputation of the original title, even when sharing a disc with it.

I think most of the remakes will have the same impact long-term, especially the ones that don't do much differently than the original did. In a quarter century from now, The Lion King will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and the "photorealistic" knockoff will have its 25th anniversary. Will people know that the remake got made and that it exists for them to watch? Yes. Will people still be talking about it? I doubt it. But I absolutely believe that people will still be talking about and watching the original, regardless of whatever updated reception the remake receives at that time. Personally, I actually like the remake of Beauty and the Beast (which I think you found pretty entertaining too.) But even that one, which I think is better than any since then, is always going to be viewed in context of the original. It's always going to be "Remember that time Disney remade Beauty and the Beast in live-action with a lot of CGI?" The legacy of the original is secure and isn't going anywhere. So I really doubt the remakes will do anything to change that, however they age.

But what I find interesting is how quickly they are burning through their top-shelf titles. This year alone, we've had Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King and now Lady and the Tramp. Mulan is coming out in March. There is an inherent limit to how many remakes they can produce, so what happens when they run out?

I'm sure the live-action studio would love to get their hands on Frozen, but they won't be allowed to do that while the original animated version is still considered an active franchise. Although Disney hasn't announced anything yet, I would be shocked if Frozen 3 wasn't in the cards at some point, especially if the second one ends up being as successful as it should be. A third film or fourth film or whatever they do next would only delay the live-action studio being able to use that property, because Disney wouldn't want to have Frozen going in both animated and live-action format at the same time.

So, there's going to be a period of time that's probably significant between which they've run out of existing legacy titles to remake, but can't yet have access to newer things like Frozen or Moana. They don't seem to have a game plan for how to handle this. And if you look at their box office results from the last few years, the Disney-branded live-action films that are not direct remakes of animated classics have not done very well. Ex: Tomorrowland, A Wrinkle in Time, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and even sequels to previously-successful remakes Alice Through the Looking Glass and Maleficent 2 have all stumbled and lost money relative to their massive budgets. The logical thing to do here would be to make the remakes on a more deliberately paced schedule, like say one every year, so that they make their arsenal of famous titles last longer. But instead, they have their eyes on the short-term gain of these huge profits. So they are pumping through these big titles like there's no tomorrow, without a clear succession plan as to what will engage audiences when they run out of remake fodder.

They may come to regret that at some point sooner rather than later.
 
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Robert Crawford

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We've discussed this very point, Jake with each one of these live action remakes.

And I get it. But I think, in the long run, the Mouse is undercutting it's assets with these obvious cash grabs. They need to produce new features (such as they have with Frozen, Moana, etc.) or run the risk of being known as a company which only looks back rather than forward.

These remakes just aren't advancing the ball. Good in the short term, but we'll see what their long-term impact is for Disney.

And, in the meantime, I keep watching them and left feeling empty.
Mike,

You're not the intended audience so it's understandable you would feel empty. Of course, Disney is doing these remakes for the money, but, also for younger generations who might not be as attached to that older fare as you are. There are exceptions as some children might be just as attached to older movies as you are, but, I would think that Disney has plenty of marketing data to support their "remake" strategy.
 

Josh Steinberg

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But what I find interesting is how quickly they are burning through their top-shelf titles.
They know the business is changing and that what’s viable for theatrical release may not be tomorrow. Don’t discount the possibility that they’re going in all now to hedge against the possibility that movie theaters might not exist as they do today if they were to put out these titles two or three years apart instead of one or more a year.

I think Disney is understanding something that many are slower to grasp: that going to the theaters to see a movie is becoming what going to the stadium is to following sports. There are far more people who follow baseball on television and online than there are people who attend games in person, but everyone still has access to the same game. And something seemingly contradictory is happening in baseball: attendance of games is at record lows, but total overall viewership is at record highs.

The same thing is happening with theaters and home viewing. I think Disney is simultaneously going for the last hurrah of the old landscape while positioning themselves to dominate in the new one.
 

Jake Lipson

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They know the business is changing and that what’s viable for theatrical release may not be tomorrow. Don’t discount the possibility that they’re going in all now to hedge against the possibility that movie theaters might not exist as they do today if they were to put out these titles two or three years apart instead of one or more a year.
Let's take that hypothetical to the extreme. If you're right, and movie theaters cease to exist, they still have a problem because the delivery method is irrelevant to the use of each title. Even if everything Disney produces eventually becomes only for Disney+, they're still going to run into a time period where they've made al the big remakes before they would be allowed to touch the more modern films for remake purposes. So what do they do then?

Their recent live-action films that are not direct remakes of evergreen animated titles have struggled at the box office. Even if people would be more inclined to stream those as part of a Disney+ subscription when theaters don't exist, Disney has created a scenario for itself where the remakes are the bread and butter of their live-action output. At the pace they're going, they're going to run out sooner than later. What is the next thing?
 

Dave Scarpa

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I thought it was ok , I still like the original, but this was an ok version
 

Johnny Angell

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When I was young and stupid (instead of old and...) I loved Lady and the Tramp. I didn’t notice a very large departure from reality (no, not the talking dogs). The concept of a stray living the good life. Yeah, I know Tramp settles down in the movie, but I’ve come to dislike any medium portraying the “stray life” as anything but miserable.

And I may have just hit the wall on these remakes. 20 years from now will they remake the remakes?
 
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