Many years ago as a lad I saw Lady & the Tramp (1955). I have not seen it in many years and I honestly cannot remember what age I was exactly when I last saw it. Mirroring myself as a lad who had yet to mature and understand the themes and storylines of films, there is not much that I can say about it; only that it was a lot of fun to watch and was quite entertaining; which, of course, is what Walt Disney films are all about. I know now that there was a lot more to that film than how I saw it with my young boy’s eyes. From my learning experience at school about themes and storylines; I saw a wonderful love story filled with a sense of family connection and a chance for those who seem different to everyone else to see the light that will bring them respect from surrounding folk and a new life filled with joy and wonder as if you were living Heaven on earth. Because of that, this film became a classical masterpiece that stood out from most other films following in the legacy of Walt Disney. I say that Lady & the Tramp really was one of the greatest love stories to ever hit the animation cinema screens.
Over 50 years in the making and the idea of creating a sequel for Lady & the Tramp seemed a cold shoulder for the entire fan club of the film. Well, come the new millennium and it promised something for those who might have seemed desperate when another beautiful film was made by Walt Disney studios; which I believe has proved to interpret the meaning of the most important thing in our everyday lives that is and never will be more important than the things that we desire: Family. It is called Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (2001), directed by Darrell Rooney, who also directed The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998).
I am not going to go into too much detail about the director, but Darrell Rooney directing this film was interesting because he brought a lot about the themes of love and family in The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride; when it was all about uniting as one without prejudice and working together to survive, regardless of differentiation. It really brought out the meaning of family connection; and it is exactly what gave some credit and recognition to the film itself; not to mention at one time becoming the highest selling direct-to-video sequel (still remains today? I don’t know). The themes that Rooney brought to that film would not dare to fade away when he would use them to once again create another beautiful film with the inspiration of his sense of family connection; only (in my opinion) better this time. So I give great credit to Rooney for his excellent work again. Darrell Rooney, I say to you that you are a bloody legend, mate!
Onto the film itself, it follows up well from the original in that, along with the new characters, a lot of the old characters return. The voice actors who play them do a very good job of keeping the original style, as well as similar voices, of the characters from the original back in 1955. With these two attributes; the majority of original characters and their original styles; the sequel really brings a good vibe of the original and helps it to follow the same story without being too different. The events of the previous story are also mentioned in the film, and this gives a good and clear direction for exactly where the next part of the story is going to.
Some of the visuals shown in the original are also shown in the film; including the coloured glass window halfway up the staircase in Jim Dear and Darling’s house, the arc bridge in the park, and the love heart in the concrete slab where Lady and Tramp placed their paw marks on, which Scamp and Angel walk past when they are in the park. Again, bringing in the old elements really helps to create that same good vibe of the original film for the sequel.
Scamp is the protagonist in this film, and it seems in many ways that he is fed up with his life as a house pup, because he wants to live independently and run free without suffering the consequences of breaking the house rules. He very much wants to live his life on his own terms, because he believes that living in a house is no fun and it does not give him anything that he desires. He doesn’t even seem to fully understand what family is all about; until he exchanges the office for vitamin D (meaning that he switches from the indoor life to the outdoor life: I use this term in relation to employment because I prefer working outside than in an office). Once he experiences life outside the gates of family confinement, he learns some very valuable lessons.
Tramp tries to tell his son about the rules of living in a house with family, but Scamp just throws it in his face, saying that he doesn’t belong with them. Tramp understands his son’s demands because of his own experiences living as a stray when young and when he grew mature before he met his true love and found that to be better and more important; but he cannot let Scamp know this because he does not want his own son to follow in his streetwise paw prints. In other words, Tramp does not want to see the “Old Tramp” in Scamp. But Tramp somehow still lets his son go with the Junkyard Dogs as he is unable to convince him to do the right thing as Scamp seems just that desperate to get what he wants. He leaves by remarking “I guess there are some things that you just have to learn on your own”.
This line is particularly interesting because there is an old saying; “You can talk the talk, but can he/she walk the walk?”, and from this it means that there are many lessons that can be taught; and there will be those who will obey, and those who will ignore. For those who ignore, if they can actually go out and get a personal experience and a vibe for what they have been taught against their will and they end up suffering the consequences; it is from that point on that they have learned their lesson and they will finally wind up doing the right thing without going down that same road ever again. Therefore Scamp learned his lesson after suffering the consequences of his actions and therefore finally ended up doing the right thing. It is really a basic lesson about the most important things in life.
The film got some good actors as well; and the way that they are able to portray their voices to fit the outcome of the characters in the film gave another great entertaining and, at times, dramatical vibe to it. I personally believe that the way the actors were able to use their talent to make the film sound like reality just brings the themes of the film to life; as with any other film. I will not go into detail about the actors, but they all did a terrific job in their voiceovers and they did not sound boring at all. The casting crew of the film did a great job in selecting the actors.
Scamp is kind of a cool character in terms of his personality. On the outside it is clear that he is a rascal by nature at first glace, but he is also quite soft on the inside: He is not obnoxious, he cares about his friends, and even in the down or scary times he always shows a sense of humor. He also takes bad situations very seriously, and he knows when he has done something wrong; and it is from that moment on that he does the right thing. All in all he has style and a bit of charm to his character, and he plays well as the protagonist.
Angel is another favourite character of mine because she has a big open heart, a sense of family connection, and a very much no-nonsense attitude; but at the same time showing a sense of humor. It’s interesting and maybe even somewhat ironic that even though she is one of the Junkyard Dogs, she wants to be apart of a family; but she finds it difficult because she has already been down that road before enough times that its finally time to take the turn off to another road and see where it will take her next. Why? Because in her experience, the families that she has been with have had new offspring or kept moving away, and therefore she feels that they don’t care about her any more. To Angel, the stolen affection by others in the family from house pets seems common for all dogs that live in houses; until she makes a personal observation on house dogs and their owners’ true love for them later in the film. Until then, she then makes the hard choice to live with strays as she feels that it is all that she has left if she continuously gets shunned away by her owners. She has the skills and style to live out on the streets; but being with a family, and to be loved, is all she wants; and she never lets go of that. That is what is great about her inside character: That she never seems to give up hope when things are down, as she believes that there is still a light at the end of the tunnel if she can go the distance and make it out alive. Scamp might also be there to help her see the light by opening another door to a home with a loving family.
Angel’s sense of family connection changes Scamp’s ideas about running wild and free from his own family; because Scamp finds that his love for Angel is a feeling that he has never felt before; and it is completely different and more important, as he later finds out, than his dreams of running free. It is from the point that she shuns him because of his choice to turn away from his father and his entire bloodline that Scamp realizes his mistake: If he can’t have Angel, he has no life. Angel means everything to him and if choosing the street life means turning his back on someone he loves, then living dirty with fleas, avoiding roaming dogcatchers, and confronting and fighting vicious street mutts is too hard for him. He also witnesses with his own eyes that his family are missing him; not that he really expected them to after how strict they had been with him; and he then knows that they really do love him. Scamp finally comes to conclusion that family becomes the safest and most important environment than anything outside of that buffer zone, if you will.
It is also interesting to bring in a story of the past about Tramp into this film. Scamp does not realize that his own father was probably the most successful street dog known to the dogs of New Haven, Connecticut until he hears the story of him once he is outside of his family’s buffer zone. He learns that Buster mentored him as a teacher and a friend until he “turned his back on him by choosing love over his own student”. Buster gave Tramp a choice to stay out on the streets or dissolve his friendship with him by becoming a “house pet”. Tramp takes the tough decision to go with his true love as he found something more important. Buster got infuriated at this and called Tramp a traitor. At the same time Scamp cannot understand, until later, why his father would give it all up when he thinks that street life is true independence and eligibility to free will. He also tries to keep his identity on the down low because if Buster finds out that Scamp is the son of his former protégé, he will rip him to shreds.
What is interesting about this is that past stories really assist to build up to important and intense moments in the film that also further brings the moral of the story to life. It’s like each vital point in the film blows more air into the balloon until it gets to the point where it finally explodes and it results into the intense moment that brings the main theme to life and makes for an interesting and special story. This was done very well.
All in all, I think that what this film teaches us is that we all want to have our independence and we all want to be free to do our own thing; but you must keep in mind what is truly important before you make any rash decisions. And I quote from Motley Crue’s “Primal Scream”: “If you want to live life on your own terms, you gotta be willing to crash and burn.” This means that you will have to earn your independence and free will by working hard to put the ones who you care about most before you because you eventually find out, within time, that they are who you need and want more than anything or anyone else. Everyone has a passion for something, and whatever it is you must go out and do it. You must keep in mind what your heart tells you about the difference between wrong and right, and sometimes your own desires may come at a price. That price may not always be worth paying for; so it will be important to keep in mind how far you will go with your passions and desires before your whole life may eventually come crashing down on you. You will then realize what you have to do to make things right, so use your skills and ability to turn things around and make the light shine once again.
Scamp’s Adventure is worth at least a watch. It is a film filled with fun, laughter, heart, love, and family connection and I recommend it for the whole family.