Oliver & Company - Disney Films Project
Moving along in our Disney Films Project, we now have reached the year of 1988. Time flies when you are having fun!
Oliver and Company is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens Oliver Twist story set in modern day New York and using animals as the main characters. It's an average feature for the Disney studio with nothing too notable about it other than having Billy Joel star as Dodger and provide one of the soundtrack songs.
I never bothered to see this one in the theater when it was released (that I remember). Once it finally joined the VHS lineup, we added it to our collection but it never really was a favorite for either of my kids. After this viewing, I can see why. There are some pretty dark moments and (spoiler alert) things end quite violently for the villain and one of the bad dogs was electrocuted on the rail. Yikes!
I guess my favorite part of this movie is Billy Joel's Why Should I Worry? song. We had one of the Disney Sing-a-long videos that included that number and we spent a lot of time singing along with it back in the 90s. It's a catchy tune with some fun New York scenes. Other than that, the rest of the movie is just fair. I give it 4 out of 10 Mickeys.
Second-Hand Opinion with Alex Nelson
This particular film is not quite timeless, but timely. Let me explain.
The pop culture references, such as Huey Lewis and The News, Cheech Marin, and Billy Joel as Dodger, are an encapsulation of the 80s and 90s. Without them, the film can be totally reworked. But there’s something about the adaptation that shines despite it all. Maybe it’s the relatability of the situations. But most likely, it’s the fact that the story doesn’t overstay its welcome.
We’re not in the ballpark of Disney’s best work. But it’s good to see that they can put something out that’s quick, simple, and still good animation. I can’t find much to point towards our villain, or his Hench-dogs. All the same, that’s probably so the conflicts are neatly wrapped up, something that I admire. The story is by the numbers, not particularly notable. But that’s ok. The point is that Disney still has the skill to make films that are good.
I dislike Cheech Marin as Taco Bell dog. And the story could have been developed a bit more, but Disney was probably worried about diving too deep. Good use of CGI, though you can tell when it’s used. And that’s all I can think to say, except to mention the Scooby-doo Easter egg. Perhaps that sums up what’s going on. This is a brainless comedy to ensure that the adaptations are still working.
So I’d give this a 6 out of 10, mainly because the story could be developed a bit more. What’s Rita and Dodger’s Relationship? How’d Fagin get into this mess? Can Georgette be softened a bit as the film goes on? These are all good questions. Perhaps someone should have answered them before the writing was finished!
Meanwhile, in Disney’s Burbank studio, two collaborators from Great Mouse Detective pitch two ideas to the company. Their dream project, Treasure Island in Space, is shut down. But dreams have a way of changing, for the animation team has seen potential in the collaborators other pitch, an adapted tale of Hans Christen Andersen’s…