Disney's direct-to-video sequel, "Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure," doesn't remotely approach the magic of the original, but its latest DVD release includes numerous bonus features that will keep kids occupied beyond the brief 70-minute runtime.
"Scamp" centers on the incorrigible offspring of Lady and Tramp, a puppy who finally shakes off the rules and shackles of living in a house and gets to roam with the wild street dogs. He befriends the sassy Angel, who tells him that belonging to Buster's junkyard dog clique isn't what it's cracked up to be, but Scamp has to learn the hard way that he left behind the good life.
While kids will identify with Scamp's rebelliousness, the pup isn't the most sympathetic character, especially when he's rude to his well-meaning parents. This film follows the usual musical Disney formula, but the songs aren't really that catchy except for "Junkyard Society Rag." There's also a little puppy love subplot that's pretty cute, including a less romantic spaghetti scene than in the original.
The Song Selection feature prints lyrics on screen so kids can sing along to their favorite songs from the film, while the audio commentary examines the challenges and advantages of making an animation sequel, including the already established style of animation and that the characters don't have to age. The commentary is more for adults since it covers the more technical aspects of animation, the research required and the story arc.
The "Making Of" feature is a much more dynamic behind-the-scenes look with fun visuals that explore the newer characters and their voice actors: Scott Wolf as Scamp, Alyssa Milano as Angel and Chazz Palminteri as Buster. While the feature walks through the production process, the filmmakers also point out the homages to the original film in the sequel -- just in case you missed them.
"Junkyard Games" comprises three games in which the child uses the DVD remote to compete in carnival-style games set in the junkyard in hopes of acquiring a piece to create the "dogcatcher catcher." It's just a matter of trial and error, but one can achieve a sense of accomplishment once all the games are successfully completed.
In "Tramp's Hide & Seek Game" the player selects three dogs from a set of nine to search for. For every three dogs found within still shots from the film, the DVD rewards you with three classic shorts featuring another Disney dog, Pluto. Frankly, I don't know how kids have the patience for this. I clicked on the "?" every time to get a clue where the pooches were hiding, and even then I didn't have the best luck. And even if you don't earn the shorts through the game, you can always go straight to them on the menu. Both "Pluto Jr." and "Pluto's Kid Brother" will be popular with kids who will identify with the younger dogs.
STUDIO: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: June 20
PRICE: $29.99 each
TIME: 70 min.
DVD EXTRAS: Song Selection; The Making of the Film: From Tramp to Scamp; Tramp's Hide & Seek Game: Search for Scamp and Friends; Audio Commentary with Director Darrell Rooney, co-director/producer Jeannine Roussel, and director of animation Steve Trenbirth; Classic Disney Shorts Featuring Pluto: "Pluto, Jr." (1942), "Pluto's Kid Brother" (1946), "Bone Trouble" (1940)
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