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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure (Blu-ray)
Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure (Blu-ray)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // G // August 21, 2012 // Region Free
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted August 21, 2012 | E-mail the Author
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I know the feeling!
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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
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gang of no-good junkyard dogs. Oooohhhhh, it's everything Scamp could ever have wanted! He can gnaw on hats, bounce on the couch, and smash smash smash everything in sight without anyone scolding him. Scamp even finds a new best friend in a too-cute puppette named Angel. The only thing is that the junkyard gang knows that Scamp is a house dog, and they put him through a pretty grueling initiation if he wants to run with them. Hey, that's not how friends treat each other! If you think that's bad, though, just imagine what'll happen if Buster -- the bite-happy leader of the Junkyard Dogs -- finds out who Scamp's father is!

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.

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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
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channels, and the whole thing is reinforced by an impressively tight, punchy low-end. The only downside is that it completely bungles the surround channels. For the first twenty minutes and change, the rears are so low in the mix that they might as well not even be there. About a minute or so after the "Junkyard Society Rag" number, the volume in the surrounds is suddenly, jarringly boosted, as if someone remembered to flip on a switch or something. The levels from that point out are really what they ought to have been all along. The sound design still really isn't sure what to do with them, though, rarely belting out more than very light ambiance. A few scattered effects are punctuated by the rear channels, such as a train screaming forward, the dogcatcher's wagon puttering around, and bursts of fireworks, but they really do seem like an afterthought. It's a pretty solid soundtrack overall, but its missteps with the rear channels definitely drag the overall score down.

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.

  • The Making of Lady and the Tramp II: From Tramp to Scamp (17 min.; SD): The making-of featurette on Scamp's Adventure breezes through every step of the process: character design, voice casting, recording, hammering out a screenplay, storyboarding, splashing on that digital ink and paint, and putting together the musical numbers. One touchstone throughout the featurette is how faithful the filmmakers tried to be to the original Lady and the Tramp. That's driven home by sprinkling in clips from a vintage behind-the-scenes doc about Lady and the Tramp hosted by Walt Disney himself. It's a pretty terrific making-of piece.

  • Audio Commentary: In fact, "From Tramp to Scamp" covers so much ground that the movie's commentary track doesn't seem like it has all that much to say anymore. This conversation with director Darrell Rooney, animation director Steve Trenbirth, and co-director/producer Jeannine Roussel alternates between narrating what's on-screen and rehashing what's already been covered in that making-of piece. There are a few original notes -- the story hitting home to Rooney since his brother ran away as a teenager as well as referencing a small army of Disney execs' pups for one key sequence -- but the behind-the-scenes featurette for Scamp's Adventure still covers just about all this same ground and in a fraction of the time to boot.

  • Puppy Trivia Tracks (69 min.; HD): A whole separate presentation of Scamp's Adventure lobs out oodles of facts about man's best friend: doggie dreams, dogs' noseprints being every bit as unique as people's fingerprints, and the record held by the oldest dog ever, among many, many others. There's also plenty of trivia about the movie itself in here too, such as Scamp getting his name in his long-running comic series well before he had one in the movies, how many years and how many animators it took to put Scamp's Adventure together, a list of some of the breeds featured in the flick, and lots and lots and lots
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    on Disney's doggie heritage.

  • Sing-Along Songs (11 min.; HD): If your kids aren't all that picky about the music they like and wanna sing along, four of the movie's songs -- "World Without Fences", "Junkyard Society Rag", "I Didn't Know I Could Feel This Way", and "Always There" -- are presented with color-coded lyrics here.

  • Bonus Shorts (23 min.; SD): I was really excited about catching classic Disney shorts in high definition, but...nope. These three Pluto-centric shorts -- "Pluto, Junior", "Bone Trouble", and "Pluto's Kid Brother" -- are all presented in 1080p24 alright, but the heavy aliasing and overall muddy appearance is a dead giveaway that they've been upconverted. Here's hoping one of these days that Disney puts out high-def boxes of shorts to rival what Warner's doing with the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection.

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.
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