Oliver & Company (1988)
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When a homeless kitten comes across a street-wise dog with a gift for song and stealing hot dogs, little Oliver finds himself the member of an exclusive gang of thieving dogs. But before he even executes his first crime, he is discovered by a lonely little girl in need of a friend. Chaos soon ensues as Jenny and Oliver get caught up in a kidnapping by the classic evil villain.
It's a fun filled romp to be enjoyed by one and all over and over again.
The songs are lovely, and the story is really heartwarming!! The dutch version of this movie is just as funny as the English is! My favorite character is Dodger, because he's the "cool street dog" and Oliver is just cute!!
I know I'm a real Disney freak and this movie really belongs to one of my favorites!!!
Billy Joel impresses as the voice of Dodger, a mutt with New York attitude. He's joined in the cast by Cheech Marin, Bette Midler, and Dom DeLuise (as a derelict Fagin).
The best character, in my mind, is the city itself. This is definitely a New York City movie, tapping into the city's personality and capturing many of the landmarks in the animation.
The movie has a visual aesthetic that is not quite like the style of other Disney films, which is kind of cool. There's some great character animation, such as with the imposing villain Sykes (Robert Loggia). CGI framework is used effectively throughout the film to animate cars and things.
OLIVER & COMPANY is definitely a product of its time: the late 1980s. The movie is dated by the clothing worn by the humans, the models of the cars, the music (smooth and synthesizery, with the main title song sung by Huey Lewis), the gritty urban look, and even the character designs (see the hot dog vendor or the hairspray-loving canine Rita).
In a superficial way, OLIVER & COMPANY reminds me of THE RESCUERS. Both have a unique aesthetic "feel" that strays from the classic Disney style and seems to capture the sensibilities of the times. OLIVER is as quintessentially 1988 as THE RESCUERS is 1977. (Both films also portray contemporary New York City, involve animals helping a cute little girl, and explore some dark and emotional territory.) OLIVER & COMPANY is dated, but gloriously so.
The next animated film released by Disney would be THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989), which launched the company's 1990s renaissance of timeless masterpieces, shaped by Alan Menken's Broadway-influenced musical direction. It's interesting to see the quaint, contemporary style of OLIVER, knowing that Disney would soon go off in a different direction.
With no nostalgic ties to this film, I can say that it's a decent flick, although it wouldn't crack even my top 20 Disney movies. Love the NYC stuff. Joel's "Why Should I Worry?" is a musical highlight. The story has a surprising emotional impact and the climax is both dark and exciting.
"Oliver & Company" not only has great animation, but also has a great cast of very likable characters which are more than enough to make this movie a highly enjoyable experience from beginning to end. The songs were quite catchy too.
In many ways, this had some of the best ingredients of the classic Disney formula, and yet, the audience doesn't seem to like this as much as other Disney films that came later (Like "The Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", and, of course, "The Lion King") Personally, I think it had all the ingredients to be a nice and entertaining film for the whole family.
Basically, Oliver is an orphan kitten the big city of New York and meets a smooth street smart dog, Dodger. When Oliver follows Dodger to his layer of other dogs who are led by a homeless man, Fagin, they decide to keep Oliver. But when Oliver is learning the street smarts, a little girl sees him and takes him home where he gets a nice loving place to stay, not to mention extremely wealthy. But the guys want him back and kidnap him to pay back the mean Mr. Sykes.
I thought this was a great introduction of Charles Dicken's immortal classic for the kids. Not to mention that it was clever and witty, the music is memorable and there are some very funny moments that both kids and adults could get a kick out of. Believe me, this movie is good fun, but I'm still trying to find out why I didn't see it sooner.
I don't think this movie is as good for kids as Disney's usual fare because the story is a little confusing and could go over their heads. But it's still a good and solid effort on Disney's part. I enjoy the music and the characters are very entertaining. The actors sound like they're having a really good time recording the voices too.
Is this a masterpiece? Well, no. But it deserves a lot more credit. It's fun and family friendly and it is certainly entertaining enough for adults too. I'm going to give it a 7/10 because it's not perfect but it's still good.
The film takes place in the present day of its release (the year of 1988). It is one of the most simplistic Disney animated films when it comes to artwork, quality, attention to detail, drawings, plot and (in many cases) characters. The backgrounds and artwork are very poor for Disney's standards.
'Oliver & Company' is one of the weakest old Disney cartoons, but still far better than most Disney's cinema of nowadays. On the other hand, when it comes to old Disney films, it's very easy to find much better. My impression on this movie is even more harmed considering it's based on Charles Dickens's acclaimed novel 'Oliver Twist'. I don't know how good or bad is the 1968 film 'Oliver!', which I never watched but I know it's based on Charles Dickens's famous novel.
Back to 'Oliver & Company' (which I am reviewing), it has some good things too. For example, the music. "Once Upon a Time in New York City" (by Huey Lewis) is a touching song and is played in a touching part of the movie. "Why Should I Worry?" (by Billy Joel) is pretty cool. Jenny's song is pretty.
What else is good in this film? Well, it has some likable characters, although I can't say the same on most of them. Starting with the likable characters, Dodger is super cool. He is, as he says, New York's coolest quadruped. Obviously, he is not perfect, but who is? Anyway, he is fun, carefree and charismatic. Billy Joel is the voice of Dodger (both speaking and singing) and he is awesome in both. Oliver is naturally cute, innocent and adorable. Jenny is a very nice rich little girl. She is humble and doesn't have the arrogance characteristic of many rich people. I think that Jenny was somehow inspired on Penny from 'The Rescuers'. I wouldn't be surprised. Even their names are very similar.
As for the other characters. Winston isn't a character that I dislike, but he is nothing special. Fagin is a good guy, however so clown-like that he is irritating (although, at the same time, we feel bad for him). Clearly more annoying than Fagin are Tito and Georgette. Tito is so rude and obnoxious and, to make thing worse, he never shuts up - although it's hilarious when he gets electrocuted in that limousine and says the line «Yeah. Well, it's hard to watch anything when you're getting barbecued, man!». As for Georgette, I can't stand her. She is extremely rude, obnoxious, selfish, spoiled, stupid, sarcastic, unbelievably snobbish and arrogant, not to mention annoyingly vain and proud of herself. Good grief!
Francis, the bulldog that strongly dislikes to be called Frank and Frankie (as Tito often does to provoke him), isn't a bad chap but he's nothing special either.
Sykes is one of the most sinister Disney villains ever. He is like a mafia guy and a real nutcase. He is terrible when it comes to people he lends money but don't return his money. He threats with creepy attitudes and phrases such as «People get hurt» or «Somebody might get hurt». Plus, you can tell he is the type of guy who kills if somebody knocks on his door by mistake. For example, there is a scene which the dogs disguise themselves as a pizza boy and Sykes is ready to attack with a gun and menacingly wondering «Where are those dogs?», which makes me believe he'd do the same if a real pizza boy knocked on his door by mistake. He makes horrifying threats to Jenny such as «Don't cry, little girl. They only eat when I tell them to» (referring to his vicious Dobermans Roscoe and DeSoto). When he snaps his fingers, this is an order for his vicious Dobermans to attack and eat. There is one terrifying scene which he snaps his fingers and they viciously attack Dodger and leave him unconscious. He drives like a maniac, chases after Fagin though New York subway, wrecking his car... he does many scary things.
My final note: a 6 out of 10.
Although the animation is linear and quite flat (which is present in other Disney films such as 'The Jungle Book' and 'The Rescuers'), the lip-sync on the human and animal characters is detailed as well as their facial expressions, despite the absence of tears falling from Jenny's eyes when she confronts Fagin about Oliver being 'kidnapped.' The most positive aspects of this film are its swift pace (particularly during the climax where Sykes and his Dobermans chase Fagin, Jenny and the other animals down the subway track); the talented and relatively well-known voice cast including Billy Joel (Dodger), Bette Midler (Georgette) and Cheech Marin (Tito) of 'Cheech and Chong' fame; the background designs (especially the bird's-eye views of New York City and Central Park); and the songs (the ever-so-catchy 'Why Should I Worry?' and the sweet 'Good Company' are standouts). Jenny and Oliver are sweet while Georgette is beautiful and Tito is comical, although I would like to have seen Jenny reunite with her parents and show them Oliver.
As well as the 1968 musical 'Oliver!' this is one of my favourite adaptations of the classic Charles Dickens novel and also one of the most underrated films I've ever seen. 9/10.
The story itself isn't quite as strong as it could've been (which is why I award the movie an eight as opposed to a nine or a ten), but it still offers a lot of sweet, charming, heart-filled, and suspenseful moments. The characters also aren't *all* the way there, but they're still good as they are, and their voice actors do their jobs well. Each character has traits that make them appealing, even if they aren't the strongest characters in the Disney canon.
I'll end by saying that Oliver & Company is a very enjoyable Disney feature. Children will certainly be entertained by it, especially if they love cats, dogs, and fun musical numbers. Adults can enjoy it too if they appreciate the worlds of animation and Disney enough. Because of the film's level of fun and charm, I give it an eight. If the story and characters had been even better, I would've given it a nine or a ten.
So, i don't know why i wanted to start watching my childhood movies again so i started with "oliver and company". And i still love it Disney should make more movies like this Great soundtrack, fun, with a moral in the ending I give 10 to this movie cause it made me want to watch it over and over again
People compare this movie with "All dogs go to heaven" in my opinion I liked "Oliver and company" better because of the soundtrack and it had more action The characters are funny, especially the little chihuahua
Kids of this generation should watch this kind of movies instead I bet they will love it
One of the things I love about it is the song "Why Should I Worry", among others featured in this, which is one of my favorite Disney tunes. I find the set-up of this version taking place in then modern times, which made up the same era that this was made (late 1980s) interesting, possibly, simply because it was interesting that something different was done. There were even some real world ads featured on billboards that made it into this and were referenced. And the fact that the main cast are dogs and a kitten.
The Oliver in this remake is a tabby kitten who is the last in a box of abandoned kittens to be eventually adopted. The first dog he meets is the streetwise Dodger, who attempts to lose him after dropping their brief partnership. Oliver follows him to an old barge, which is his home, as well as the other dogs (Francis, Einstein, Rita and Tito) and their owner (Fagin)'s home. Oliver only stays with them briefly, as Fagin is deep in debt to a loan shark dealer named Sykes, who warns him he has three days to come up with the money he owes him or else face the consequences. When Fagin and the pets head out the next day, Oliver is soon discovered by a girl named Jenny, who wants to adopt him and he's taken into her home. After the other dogs come to what they thought was his aid, Oliver misses her and his new home, and wants to go back there. Dodger bitterly lets him do as he requests but before Oliver can return, Fagin finds him and decides to use him as ransom, as a desperate attempt to make the amount of money he needs to pay off Sykes. But once he finds out that it's Jenny who's looking for the tabby with her poodle, Georgette, he decides to do the right thing and give him back to her. Suddenly, there's trouble when Sykes arrives and kidnaps Jenny after learning that she comes from a wealthy family. So it's up to the dogs to come to her salvation. How will they ever manage to succeed in the rescue and will they come through for her?
Not only did I see this, but I had the Disney read-along and the book adaptation as part of the Disney Classics Series by Mouse Works Books. Again, what I love about this are the aforementioned reasons above. This is one of the Disney features that are the closest to doing something fully original (other than Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear and Home On The Range). The first song included in this that I mentioned is my favorite is one reason why all who haven't seen it should check it out when they can. That's a great part of the soundtrack and the best.