I'm pretty sure I was watching Scamp's Adventure last night with those same sad, forlorn puppy dog eyes, and I couldn't shake the vision of the original Lady and the Tramp outta my head either.
Grrrr...rules! His three prissy sisters love getting baths and never, ever break stuff. His mom Lady and pop Tramp just don't get it either. C'mon, Scamp is a wild dog! He's meant to be out there in the mean streets, digging for food outta trash cans and roughing up alleycats and staying up past his bedtime an' stuff. The only thing is that...::gulp!:: Scamp's wish comes true when he decides to run away from home. While his old family is out desperately searching for him, Scamp falls in with a new crowd: a
Yeah, yeah, Disney had hammered out sequels before this, but they were either proper theatrical releases like Fantasia 2000 or followups to much more recent movies like The Lion King. Originally released back in 2001, Scamp's Adventure is the first direct-to-video sequel of one of the studio's classic films. It's also...well, not very good. The animation is better than what you see on Saturday morning but doesn't come close to approaching the majesty of the original Lady and the Tramp. The sweetness of the Disney classic makes way for heavy-handed, unearned schmaltz. Despite its very best efforts, there's no real dramatic or emotional hook to draw anyone in. Littered with clunky, obvious dialogue, the characters of Scamp's Adventure say exactly what they're thinking rather than letting expressive animation speak for itself. Alyssa Milano does a terrific job as the voice of Angel, but so much of the rest of the cast almost feels like they're talking down to me. Its sense of whimsy feels forced and not even a little bit of fun. The songs scattered throughout Scamp's Adventure are immediately forgettable. It really is Scamp's movie, with most of the familiar faces from Lady and the Tramp barely rating cameos, with Lady herself barely poking her head in the movie. Oh well. At least it's mercifully short, barely breaking the hour mark minus credits.
It's neat that Scamp's Adventure carries over so much of the imagery from the first film. It really does feel like a Valentine to the Disney doggie classic, exploring that class war from a different perspective and turning the premise of Lady and the Tramp on its head. Lady was a pampered house dog accidentally stuck in the street; Scamp's a puppy who desperately wants to leave his home behind. Scamp's Adventure just never manages to capture the charm, humor, or entrancing wonder that made Lady and the Tramp such an instant classic. See, Lady and the Tramp is a family movie. Scamp's Adventure, on the other hand, is a kid's movie, and not a particularly good one at that. On a week that sees The Aristocats and The Rescuers finding their way to Blu-ray too, you can pretty safely leave Scamp's Adventure on the shelf. Skip It.
Sure, sure, Scamp's Adventure can't hold a candle to the dazzlingly beautiful animation in the original Lady and the Tramp, but its crisp, clean, colorful visuals translate really well to Blu-ray just the same. Heck, that's pretty much all the review you need right there!
If you're curious how this Blu-ray release stacks up to the DVD included elsewhere in this set, then pop open these screenshot comparisons to full size. It really ought to go without saying that the linework is much, much better defined in high-def, and the compression's a lot slicker this time around too. On the other hand, it's revealing enough to showcase some haloes that are mostly masked on DVD. I have to admit that I didn't really notice that until I started poking around these screenshots, though, and I'm guessing it's some digital ink and paint artifact anyway.
This Blu-ray disc dishes out two separate AVC encodes for Scamp's Adventure: one for the regular movie and another for the Puppy Trivia Tracks version. Since the movie is arguably not even feature length as it is, there's plenty of room for both. In case you missed it, there's an anamorphic widescreen DVD riding shotgun here too. Oh, and Scamp's Adventure is presented on both discs at the HDTV-friendly aspect ratio of 1.78:1.
This six-channel, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack sure does get a lot right. I mean, every last element in the mix is dazzlingly crisp and clear. There's a really strong sense of directionality across the three front
Scamp's Adventure also serves up a Dolby Digital stereo surround track, and...hey! This disc also piles on Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in French and Spanish while it's at it. Subtitles, meanwhile, are offered in English (SDH), French, and Spanish.
Scamp's Adventure comes packaged in a shiny, embossed slipcover, and an anamorphic widescreen DVD is along for the ride. The DVD is locked to region 1, but the Blu-ray disc can be played anywhere the world over without any hiccups.
The Final Word
Scamp's Adventure is really reverent towards the original Lady and the Tramp, clearly crafted by folks with a lot of well-deserved love and admiration for one of Disney's most classic films. 'Course, love and admiration only go so far. Scamp's Adventure is a forgettable, barely mediocre effort that never comes close to capturing so much as the faintest glimmer of the magic of the original. It's not a movie; it's product. Sure, sure, Scamp's Adventure isn't even close to being the worst of Disney's direct-to-video "cheapquels", but that's about as high as the praise gets this time around. Skip It.