Disney+ has launched, and my social life has plummeted in direct correlation! But seriously, there’s just so much great content, from beloved favorites to new material. When Disney+ was first discussed, way before launch dates, I heard rumor of a live action Lady and the Tramp. I was ecstatic about this for so many reasons: dogs! dogs! dogs! But also, an opportunity to right some wrongs, from a cultural depiction standpoint. A chance to lose the annoying beaver. Plus, dogs!
I have to say, I’m overall really pleased with the result: the live action Lady and the Tramp viewable on Disney+ does address all of my concerns. The pups (the real dogs are rescues, making it even better) are adorable, the cats are no longer racist (but are appropriately creepy troublemakers), and the beaver is no longer a whistling weasel.
I do have to admit, I was much more into it than my 4 and 6 year old. Though the animated edition hold their attention, this one was paced similarly and the plot just didn’t move quickly enough.
The cinematography and set design are exquisite. Absolutely breathtaking. Although I did detect some serious New Orleans jazz influences, yet the film opens and closes with snow and was filmed in Savannah, so that was interesting.
Though the year isn’t precisely said, the film is meant to have a historic ambiance. Old fashioned cars and horse drawn carriages, brick paved roads, frilly dresses. This in conjunction with clearly integrated town that included women and men working side by side in the rail yard, both historically inaccurate points. I struggled with this, as I believe each cast member was perfectly chosen. I don’t want our nation’s troubled race history to be glossed over and erased. Yes, that is how the 1920s should have looked: men and women of all shades working side by side. But it still isn’t like that, nearly 100 years later.
I love that my kids witnessed such a positive message, but I hate that it isn’t accurate. They need to know the hardships that have been faced so they can help change the world to look like it does in this film. We can’t look at history with rose colored glasses- we need to see it with eyes wide open, wounds and all, so we can prevent it from happening again. Was it refreshing to see a love story with an interracial couple where their race differences weren’t a plot point? Absolutely. It’s a delicate line to balance modern equal role representation with how to operate that within historically set films.
Aside from that overarching issue, the plot was great. The pacing is slower, like the animated version. But the story felt concise and became about more than just two loves from opposite sides of the tracks. It was about family and standing up for what’s right, about sharing your voice even when your friends disagree, and about being willing to see someone else’s perspective.
As one of Disney+’s more advertised original items, this film stands out. It’s a beautiful story told in a beautiful way, despite the struggle of knowing how to best portray historical inequality while still having a diverse cast. It’s a difficult issue, but one we as a society need to address. We cannot allow complacency to eliminate the suffering of millions from our histories.
Have you watched any Disney+ original content? What’s been your favorite so far?