DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Scott Wolf as SCAMP
    Alyssa Milano as ANGEL
    Chazz Palminteri as BUSTER
    Jeff Bennett as TRAMP
    Jodi Benson as LADY

    Rated G
    Studio: Disney

    Directed by: Darrell Rooney and Jeannine Roussel
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I, like many, have bemoaned direct-to-video sequels of classic Disney animated films for years. However, I have tempered my view a bit over the years. Now, I realize that these low-level sequels are like any other film. Some are good (like those of “The Lion King” and “Lilo & Stitch”), and others are not so good (like “The Little Mermaid II” and “Kronk’s New Groove”).

“Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” was a sequel made several years ago when Disney started going full force and making a sequel to practically every animated feature aside from “The Three Caballaros.” Knowing it came in that glut of sequels before they really got things figured out, it really isn’t that bad.

However, the real judge of a film like this shouldn’t be some stuffy critic in his mid-30s. Instead, it should be judged by its target audience – kids. I have two sons. One is three, and the other is five. We got our hands on this sequel right before we left on a family vacation for several weeks. And while we brought a selection of DVDs for the kids to watch while we were on the road, they didn’t want to have anything to do with any of them besides “Lady and the Tramp II.”

They watched the movie every night before they went to bed. They played the characters from the movie during the day. We even stopped off at a roadside gift shop and bought a stuffed dog for my five year old, and he named it Scamp. It was so often watched while I was drifting off to sleep that I barely needed to sit down and watch it for review when I got home.

So, regardless of what I think about the film, I can say with good conscious that this direct-to-video sequel hits its mark.

The story takes place six months after Tramp has saved Lady from the treacherous rat, winning a place in the home of Darling and Jim Dear. The happy couple has a litter, most of which are prim and proper cocker spaniels like their mom. Only one is like their dad. Scamp longs for a life off the leash. He wants to run wild, but his father (who has been down that road before) wants to keep him safe.

One day, Scamp escapes the yard and starts to run stray. He hooks up with a gang of junkyard dogs led by the rough-and-tumble Buster. He also meets up with Angel, a pretty girl mutt who wins his heart. However, Buster is intent on revenge against Tramp, who abandoned the gang to live the high life. Buster tries to use Scamp to set things right.

The beauty of the original “Lady and the Tramp” was its simplicity. It wasn’t a sweeping tale, or anything really majestic. It only dealt with a few characters, and ultimately the risks were minor. For the most part, “Lady and the Tramp II” keeps up the simplicity. It does add a number of songs to the soundtrack, which wasn’t a part of the original, but was still standard operating procedure for Disney sequels a decade ago. The songs aren’t great, but they’re decent enough.

The DVD comes with three interactive games and a feature that allows the viewer to choose the different songs from the film. There’s also a succinct and informative “Making Of Lady and the Tramp II: From Tramp to Scamp” documentary which answered some of the questions I had about the making of the film.

Ultimately, “Lady and the Tramp II” has some trouble living up to the original, but it should be loved by the kids. And that seems to be what really matters here.

Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.66:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language tracks. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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