Walt Disney Home Entertainment presents Lady and the Tramp on Blu-ray, replacing their 2012 Diamond Edition. The film is again presented in the aspect ratio of around 2.55:1 on a dual-layer disc and presented with a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode.
This doesn’t look any different in comparison to the previous Diamond Edition but looking back at it I was way too generous with it. It is still, generally, a pleasing image and I doubt many will be disappointed, but after working my way through many more animated films over the past six years, from Disney and other labels, the short comings are now more obvious. Though clearly sourced from film elements I still think Disney wants to go for a look suggesting you’re seeing the original animation cel used during the process and they succeed to an extent. To accomplish this look they have to apply a certain amount of noise reduction to remove any grain present and they’ve done just that: they’ve applied a certain amount of noise reduction to remove any grain present. The end result still isn’t too bad but looking at it now you can see what has been sacrificed. The backgrounds actually don’t look too bad and I think there is still some decent detail present, but the characters and the line work are not as crisp and clean as they probably could be, the lines themselves blurring on the edges, which can soften the image as a whole by a bit. It’s not excessive (not to the extent of The Sword in the Stone), but it is noticeable enough.
Past that I still think colours are really strong, with beautiful saturation. Black levels are also rich and beautiful. Also not too surprising is that there isn’t a sign of damage anywhere throughout the film. In all it still looks good. 8/10
All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.
Sing-A-Long subtitle sample
Like the previous Blu-ray edition the film comes with—for English speaking options—the original 3.0 stereo track and a 7.1 remastered track, both presented in DTS-HD MA. Where I currently live I am still not set up for 7.1 (it calls for running wires through the wall and attic for the extra speakers and I’m just really lazy and don’t have enough 7.1 films to justify it, but one day…) so this time around I’m referencing from a 5.1 set-up.
At any rate the two tracks are both rich and dynamic and both will work fine, though doing a full 7.1 remaster is a bit of overkill. The film was originally made for the 3.0 front channel set-up and it sounds quite good here. Audio is spread nicely between the fronts, music filling it out with noticeable direction and panning, also present when characters or objects cross the screen. The film was made for big theater screens and I can imagine this would have all played nicely.
The 7.1 track is essentially the 3.0 track with some added surround activity, though not a lot. Music does spread back there and there are some sound effects like barking and ambient noise (street noise and such) but it’s not overly active.
But having said that both tracks are fine and it will come down to personal preference, but at least Disney is one of those studios that does provide original tracks, and that will certainly keep the purists happy. 7/10
Though we get a handful of new features here this edition drops a significant number of other features available on the previous Blu-ray and DVD editions, though Disney does make them available a different way (more on this). The first difference between this edition and the previous Blu-ray is how it presents the film, this one being touted as a “Multi-Screen Edition.” For this “Multi-Screen Edition” you have three options when playing the film: Play the film as normal, play it in a sing-a-long mode, or play ”Inside Walt’s Meetings.” Sing-a-long mode just provides animated sing-a-long subtitles for the musical moments in the film, which is new to this edition, while the “Walt’s Meetings” feature is the film playing with the same “audio commentary” that was on the previous edition, and it even plays with the same pop-up photos that indicate who is talking within the track.
As to the track itself it offers reenactments of the story meetings based on transcripts taken during them. Unnamed actors play the various parts of the participants of those meetings. We of course don’t get everything, only snippets that have to do with what is going on onscreen at that moment, and I also suspect they’re from various meetings that occurred over the years (the original story was first conceived in the 30’s and the film wasn’t released until 1955) so we’re not getting most of the original story ideas. From what we do get we learn about how Disney and company developed the various characters, decided on the settings, and even came up with the various backgrounds and possible song numbers. I like how it’s presented, with the pop-up photos, and find that rather clever and helpful, but I wasn’t overly thrilled with the content. We only get samples and of course I’m sure it’s been filtered of any real good juicy bits to keep up the Disney image. Still, there is some interest in getting samples of how these films were brainstormed.
New to this edition is a short 8-minute segment called Walt and His Dogs, which is an admittedly cute feature presenting audio recordings of Disney talking about the dogs he had owned through the years, edited over footage of a cocker spaniel touring the (what I think is) a museum, looking at photos. Not all that insightful but you can see where some of the ideas for the film apparently came from and the kids might enjoy the dog.
Also new is Stories from Walt’s Office, which is a 6-minute tour of Walt Disney’s two offices: his formal one and his “work” one, which was allowed to be messier (people had a tendency to just throw sketches, notes, diagrams, and so on through his office so the “work” office was to keep the mess in one area by the sounds of it). The feature gives a rather interesting tour of the two rooms and provides some stories about how Disney would conduct his days. Surprisingly it’s actually a pretty good feature if really short. (It also notes you can book a tour if you wish to see the offices in person, so this is a possible plug.)
How to Make a Meatball and Other Fun Facts About Lady and the Tramp is also new and is aimed at kids. It features Alexys Gabrielle (my kids watch various Disney stations but I don’t recognize her) and the “Food Network Kids Star” champion, Amber Kelley, making spaghetti and meatballs, while sharing random facts about the film. Again it is for kids so it is what it is, but I was disappointed that while the two make their own meatballs and red sauce, they use standard dried pasta and don’t make their own. Pffffftttttt! Boo-urns! (It runs 9-minutes.)
If your children (or you) want to sing-a-long to the songs in the film without actually watching the whole film, the disc also offers a song selection screen where you can ump directly to a song in the film. They’re also presented with the sing-a-long subtitles to aid you, er, your child in singing along.
The next few features are then carried over from the old Blu-ray edition, starting with Diane Miller: Remembering Dad. This 8-minute piece is really just a shameless ad for The Disney Family Museum, though not without some charms. She recalls the apartment they had at Disney Land over the firehouse along with her fond memories around her time there. She also goes over many of the collectibles her parents had. Of course, all this and more can be seen at the Disney Family Museum. I shouldn’t be surprised we get material like this but I do have to give the folks at Disney some props for how they manage to sneak their advertising onto these releases without making it entirely obvious.
Three Deleted Scenes, running about 19-minutes, appear here again. The scenes include Jim Dear getting all excited about the possibility of having a baby boy and what the boy could grow up to become; sequences around another dog character cut out, Boris; and then a sequence where Lady and Tramp go to a dog show. There are also brief audio introductions explaining the scenes. Since they were never animated all we get are story board panels edited together to give the idea of the scene flow, and then some rather awful voice acting over it. I thought the Jim Dear scene was fairly cute but the others were rightfully cut, adding nothing to the film (the Boris bits go on forever). Still, it’s great to get this material that interestingly didn’t appear on any previous releases before the 2012 Blu-ray.
Closing the main features off we get a minute-and-a-half piece about a song cut from the film called I’m Free as a Breeze, which would have been sung by Tramp to explain his “life philosophy.” It was cut because they decided Tramp shouldn’t sing. A new recording is what is presented here.
Unfortunately a number of things are missing from here. First, the Second Screen option is gone. I actually rather liked this feature and it’s a bit of a shame it’s not here, though not too surprising I guess since I believe Disney would have to keep servers running for it (I haven’t checked if the old one still works). Obnoxiously, though, Disney has removed all of the classic DVD features from this edition. This included a lot of making-of material, more deleted scenes, promotional material and more (and I cover it all here). Though in fairness Disney does present them in another manner: an ad here informs you that if you want to see these features you have to redeem your digital code for a digital copy of the film, which then comes with all of the classic features. I do find this a bit ridiculous (will these always be available?) especially since they’re all standard definition and could have been included on the disc. Unfortunately what we are left with on the disc isn’t all that great despite a few charms. 4/10