Thursday, September 12, 2013

Disney Sequelester - Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure

Finally, finally, the movie the masses have been clamoring for... has arrived.

To hell with a Robin Hood sequel,
THIS is what my childhood has
been waiting for!
Disney movies made during and after the Disney Renaissance tend to be of a type. We like our coming of age stories about princesses who want ~more~, dammit. (Let's not get into the unfortunate Lasseter years of battling Pixar... nobody needs to remember Home on the Range.)

But before the Disney Renaissance, we saw Disney take a lot more chances in style and content. We had folksy anthropomorphic foxes, fashionistas dognapping puppies, secret mouse societies helping orphans, and a romance about dogs.

Lady and the Tramp is an interesting movie if only from a stylistic standpoint; it goes to great lengths to show us the world from a dog's point of view. As far as we know, Lady's owners are named "Jim Dear" and "Darling". The movie is shot at ankle-height, and while the dogs do talk, their words are relatively sparse and used only to convey immediate impulses with the short-sighted focus of an animal.

Note the perspective; the camera level with a dog's head
rather than a human's.
The focus of the screen is the dog; humans are treated more
like objects than they are as actual characters in the movie...
sort of like Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire.
Lady and the Tramp was billed as "Walt Disney's happiest movie". It's pretty light on substance, but certainly heavy on style. So the big challenge in creating a sequel was clearly going to be developing a unique stylistic approach that honored the first movie...

LOL yeah clearly nobody on production bothered watching
the first movie.
Lady and the Tramp II is such a strange little mess of a movie. I can't say that it's horribly done (though it's certainly not good). It has distinct (generally unlikable) characters with actual arcs, and the movie has a beginning, middle, and end. That puts it ahead of at least 50% of the Disney sequels, sry2say.

But the choices they made in this movie - on top of the choice to make it at all - are so very, very odd. Who actually wanted this movie to get made? I can only assume that the producers saw Puppy Pals for sale in Target and decided they COULD NOT MISS the popularity wave of anthropomorphized talking dogs.

Lady and the Tramp II is the story of Tramp's son Scamp (yeah, sooper clever naming there, guys). Scamp has three sisters, each as beautiful and boring as their mother. Scamp is the only one who gets a personality, because reasons.

Scamp doesn't like being a "house dog" - for some reason he thinks it would be great to be homeless. He wants to chew hats (ah yes, all those hats in the wild), run through the mud, and howl at the moon. This puts him at odds with his family. The dogs want to not get kicked out of the house, and the humans want to not be goaded into a Cruella de Vil moment.

Tramp tries to convince his son to behave, saying his family just wants what's best for him, and Scamp retorts, "Yeah, you love me as long as I do what you say."

What is it with Disney and evil Dobermans? Does Disney
just hate Dobermans?
This is a really weird concept for a movie aimed at 5-10 year olds. It's not that rebellious children don't exist, but they don't usually have any active desire to leave home. How could they? Kids that young have a very limited understanding of how the world works. This is a conflict for tweens at the youngest, but that's at odds with the cutesy tone and choice of adorable widdle puppies as your visual medium.

Here's the thing: For some teenagers, there is a degree of romanticization of "life on the street", whether we're talking about starving artists or hard gangsters. This actually is an issue, and not one typically addressed in movies. This could have actually been a really interesting concept to explore...

Yeah great animation there guys, THE DOG IS JESUS just
watch her gracefully step on thin air.

This movie is just flat-out stupid. Scamp runs away because he has a bro-crush on this evil Doberman at the head of the "Junkyard Dogs", he passes some tests, falls in love with the hot girl puppy, the evil Doberman finds out who Scamp's father is, life is miserable for about 3 seconds, Scamp decides to come home, and the Doberman is left under a piano, presumably to starve to death. Now you know, now you can save yourself 66 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...did I know there was a "sequel?" I think I did maybe in the forgotten corner of my brain where stuff like this goes to be turned into fuel. Poor doberman under the piano...animal cruelty. Bad Disney.

    I suppose it is hard to have an evil sheep dog. They look so happy all the time. :) Oh no, it's the horrible evil Lassie! Run for your lives! It's smiling at you and drooling. Muhaha! Really though, someone should try. Break the mold, you know.