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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Darrell Rooney, Jeannine Roussel
Cast:
Scott Wolf, Alyssa Milano, Chazz Palminteri, Jeff Bennett, Jodi Benson, Bill Fagerbakke, Mickey Rooney, Bronson Pinchot, Cathy Moriarty
Writing Credits:
Bill Motz, Bob Roth, Tom Rogers, Flip Kobler, Cindy Marcus

Synopsis:
Walt Disney's Beloved Classic continues with a whole new breed of Disney fun in Lady & The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. Join Jock, Trusty, and all the characters you love as they meet a new generation of hilarious canine characters in this heartwarming adventure. Lady and Tramp have their paws full raising mischievous Scamp, who's always in the doghouse. Longing for freedom, Scamp ventures far from home and joins the notorious "Junkyard Dogs". With his idol, the streetwise Buster, and a sweet and sensible stray named Angel tugging at his heart, Scamp is faced with the ultimate decision: living a collar-free life or the pampered life at home. With nonstop laughs, tail-wagging songs, and exciting bonus features - including an all-new game - Lady & The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure is purebred fun your family will enjoy again and again!

MPAA:
Rated G

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.66:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 70 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 6/20/2006

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Darrell Rooney, Co-Director/Producer Jeannine Roussel and Animation Director Steve Trenbirth
• "The Making Of Lady And The Tramp 2: From Tramp To Scamp" Tramp's Hide And Seek Game
• Junkyard Games
• Disney’s Song Selection
• 3 Classic Disney Cartoons Featuring Pluto
• Sneak Peeks


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (Limited Edition) (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 20, 2006)

With 2001’s Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure, we find the first sequel to a film from the studio’s “golden age”, 1955’s terrific Lady and the Tramp. After this release, the floodgates appeared to open. That meant efforts like Cinderella 2, Peter Pan II, 101 Dalmatians II and Bambi II. (By the way, I don’t count Fantasia 2000 in this category because it was more the continuation of a style than an actual “sequel” to 1940’s Fantasia.)

Many fans reacted very negatively to this trend, and I can’t really blame them. Sequels to more recent films make some sense because so many of the participants can reprise their roles and continue the stories. However, that’s not the case with the older movies, and for the studio to create new extensions of those tales can seem cynical.

Nonetheless, I didn’t want to prejudge the product, so I was happy to give these movies a chance. Frankly, none of the prior DTV offerings did much for me, so I didn’t expect a whole lot from Scamp. That was a correct assumption, for while the film is generally enjoyable, it’s a fairly lackluster affair that doesn’t remotely live up to the heights of the original.

The events of Scamp take place pretty soon after the conclusion of the first tale. Lady and Tramp have spawned a litter of three females - who strongly resemble their mother - and one male, Scamp, who physically takes after his old man. It seems that he also possesses a similar personality, as Scamp (voiced by Scott Wolf) has trouble remaining within the limits of a proper household. He wants to play and get rowdy, and after one too many punishments, he escapes and pursues life as a free-and-easy street dog.

Scamp meets up with a crew of junkyard dogs led by Buster (Chazz Palminteri), a self-centered tough guy who supports an attitude of one-for-one, all-for-none. Among the other pooches, one stands out to Scamp: cute little Angel (Alyssa Milano), a dog with a past.

A past in which she lived in a variety of homes, that is, and a past to which she’d like to return. She can’t explain to the others that she wants to be a house dog because Buster loathes such pampered pooches and would boot her from the gang if he got wind of that attitude. Eventually she lets Scamp in on the secret, but he doesn’t understand why she’d want to return to such an apparently suffocating lifestyle when she could be free and easy on the streets.

Of course, Scamp eventually learns his lesson and finds that life as a stray isn’t as much fun as he thought. Some soap opera elements arise along the way before the movie winds toward its inevitable happy ending.

Most recent Disney DTV films offer plots that strongly echo the original offerings but they provide a small twist. For example, in Pocahontas, settlers came to America, while in the sequel, Pocahontas traveled to England. In The Little Mermaid, a mermaid longed to be human, while in the continuation, a human wants to live under the sea.

Scamp doesn’t offer quite as obvious an example of that reverse tendency, but it’s there nonetheless. In the original, a coddled female dog learned what it was like to live on the streets, fell in love, and eventually took home her stud with her. In the sequel, a coddled male dog learns what it’s like to live on the streets, falls in love, and eventually takes home his bitch with him. Both Lady in the original and Scamp in the sequel even depart their households for fairly similar reasons, as both felt incorrectly unappreciated and neglected by their owners.

This means that Scamp is little more than a rehash of the first film, and it simply doesn’t match up well with the original. The sequel lacks spark or genuine emotion, and it seems flat most of the time. All of the characters in Scamp were charming and full-blooded, but the same doesn’t occur here. From Scamp to Angel through all of the gang, they felt like generic cartoon animals without much real personality.

It doesn’t help that the voice acting fails to make the characters breathe. Both Wolf and Milano are adequate in their roles but no better; they certainly can’t compare with the vivid vocalizations provided for their parents in the original by Barbara Luddy and Larry Roberts. Even a fine actor like Palminteri seems bland here, as his routine appears weak and forced.

The various junkyard dog gang members function a little more successfully. For such small roles, we find a surprisingly high level of talent here, with actors such as Mickey Rooney, Cathy Moriarty, and Bronson Pinchot providing the voices. However, these fairly solid portrayals are balanced by less compelling work from Jodi Benson as Lady and Jeff Bennett as Tramp. They seem very bland and lifeless in the roles and really made me miss the originals.

On the positive side, Scamp offers one of the better-looking DTV programs. As we learn in the DVD’s supplements, the filmmakers had access to the original movie’s art, and they incorporated a lot of that feature’s style into the new one. As such, Scamp provides a surprisingly lush and vibrant environment that looks quite gorgeous at times. Some of the animation is a bit stilted and clunky at times, but the movie nonetheless is a definite step up from the usual DTV fare. It’s a pretty lovely visual experience.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but reflexively compare Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure to the original film as I watched the new one, and the sequel felt lackluster in that regard. On its own, I thought it was a decent little story that lacked much spark but seemed mildly entertaining. The problems evolve when one thinks of the greatness found in the first movie, a quality that is absent here. Ultimately, Scamp is a cute enough film but it remains fairly mediocre as a whole.


The DVD Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Disney produce some excellent-looking animated DVDs, and Scamp was no exception.

Sharpness appeared terrific at all times. I never witnessed any hints of softness or haziness as the movie always seemed crisp and detailed. No jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and print flaws were absent as well; the film seemed gloriously clean and fresh.

As with the first movie, Scamp used a pastel-influenced color design, and the gentle hues seemed well-reproduced. It’s a quiet but broad palette that looked smooth and vivid at all times. Black levels were deep and rich while shadow detail seemed appropriately dark but never excessively heavy. Ultimately, the DVD presented a very satisfying visual experience.

The soundtracks of Scamp were also solid, though the gentle nature of the film meant the audio didn’t quite match up to the highs of the picture. Scamp offered both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. To my ears, I could detect no differences between the two mixes; they seemed identical.

Although the tracks occasionally showed some surround usage, for the most part the audio stuck to the forward spectrum. Across the front channels, the sound presented a fairly broad array, mainly due to the stereo music. Effects provided some general ambiance but weren’t terribly involving. The rear channels came solidly into play on a couple of occasions - the train’s passing and the fireworks - but otherwise they simply bolstered the music and effects with light reinforcement. It was not a showy mix, but it seemed fairly appropriate for the material.

Audio quality appeared excellent. Dialogue always seemed crisp and natural with no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Effects were quite clean and realistic, and when appropriate, they showed some solid dynamics. Music could have provided a little more depth to its low end, but the score and songs largely sounded clear and bright with acceptably appropriate bass. Although the soundtrack lacked ambition, it still provided a good auditory complement.

Even though Lady and the Tramp II is one of Disney’s direct-to-video pieces, it offers a nice little package of supplements. Most of these repeat from the prior release, though a few new features appear here. The first fresh elements comes from Song Selection. This lets you watch the movie’s five songs with the lyrics onscreen. How this feature differs from simply activating the subtitles escapes me.

A carryover from the old disc, we get a running audio commentary from director Darrell Rooney, co-director and producer Jeannine Roussel and animation director Steve Trenbirth. All three appear to have been recorded together for this screen-specific track.

Although I love animation, I must admit that many of the commentaries that accompany these kinds of features are fairly dull, and the track for Scamp follows that pattern. The filmmakers provide a basic discussion of some of the challenges that went into the creation of a sequel to a beloved classic, but for the most part, we learn rudimentary details of the animation process and we hear a lot about the story. Many commentaries become general reiterations of the film’s story, and that occurs here as well. Ultimately, the track revealed some interesting information but it seemed a bit dry.

During this commentary I noted one problem with the character design of Angel. In the movie we learn that she’s lived with five different families. It seems extremely unlikely that one dog would get the boot from so many homes due to the factors listed - moves, allergies, children - without any faults on the part of the dog, but that’s what we’re supposed to believe. At no point are we told that Angel possesses any flaws that let to her removal from these homes.

However, one factor that we specifically learn in the commentary is that Angel’s supposed to be a puppy. By definition, that makes her less than a year old. The poor pooch has been through five families in less than one year? I suppose that’s possible, but it seems to seriously stretch credulity. This is one of the first times I’ve learned something from a commentary that caused the film to make less sense to me!

Next up is a breezy featurette called The Making of Lady and the Tramp II: From Tramp to Scamp. This 16-minute and 35-second program mixes interview snippets with a few of the actors and the animators plus movie clips and some behind the scenes material. The latter offer the show’s best components as we get to see some bits of Walt Disney and other archival footage. Unfortunately, these glimpses are maddeningly brief, as the program zips rapidly from topic to topic. Still, it gives us a decent enough glimpse of the process behind Scamp - especially when it came to the challenge of reprising the spaghetti scene - and the vintage clips are fun, so the brief show deserves a look.

After this we find three cartoon shorts, all of which star Pluto: “Bone Trouble” (eight minutes, 40 seconds; 1940); “Pluto Junior” (seven minutes, five seconds; 1943); and “Pluto’s Kid Brother” (six minutes, 50 seconds; 1946). All three are enjoyable, but only “Bone Trouble” seemed particularly special. It provided a rollicking good time as Pluto outsmarts another pooch. In any case, I appreciated the inclusion of the cartoons, as they definitely added value to the collection.

Tramp’s Hide and Seek Game has you search for various characters from the film. You approach them in groups of three and get a prize when you locate all of the triad. For example, one contest has you discover Angel, Scratchy and Tramp. You only need to find one of the trios to get the reward, which isn’t much of one; you just get to see one of the Pluto cartoons available elsewhere on the DVD. Since there’s no special treat for success, we have to depend on the quality of the game itself, but that’s not a good thing. The contest is nothing more than lame trial and error, and it lacks any fun.

Another new feature on the 2006 DVD, we discover Junkyard Games. Here you need to work through three mini-games to create a “dogcatcher-catcher”. Like “Hide and Seek”, these rely on nothing more than repeated trial and error attempts. They quickly grow tiresome, and the “reward” isn’t remotely worth the effort.

As is often the case with Disney DVDs, Scamp opens with some promos. This disc begins with ads for releases of The Little Mermaid, Meet the Robinsons, Cinderella III, and The Fox and the Hound. In addition, all of these and previews for That’s So Raven: Raven’s Makeover Madness, The Suite Life, Little Einsteins Mission Celebration, The Wild, and Brother Bear 2 appear in the Sneak Peeks section.

All in all, I thought that Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure was a bland and lifeless sequel to a classic animated film. Nothing about Scamp seemed overtly terrible, but it suffered from a serious case of the ordinaries and rarely betrayed any spark or verve. However, the DVD is solid, as it provides strong picture plus good sound and a surprisingly good complement of extras. Lady and the Tramp II is probably a film that will be most satisfying for the little ones since it’s cute and innocently charming; adult animation fans will be much less satisfied with it.

Should any fans of Scamp bother with this 2006 edition? Nope. Picture and audio seem identical when compared with the original 2001 release, and only two minor new extras round out the package. There’s no reason to “upgrade”.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 16
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main