Oliver & Company (1988) voices Joseph Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Dom DeLuise, Robert Loggia directed by George Scribner Movie Review

Oliver & Company (1988)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Oliver & Company (1988) voices Joseph Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin

Disney Does Dickens

Oliver is a tiny kitten who finds himself in the unlikely situation of being befriended by a pack of stray dogs including Einstein, Francis, Tito and their cool leader Dodger. These dogs work for Fagin, a con artist who owes money to Mr. Sykes and uses the pack to grab things off of the street. When Oliver ends up being taken home by Jenny after finding him in a NYC Cab the pack must save the day to get their master out of trouble with Sykes.

So here we have Disney doing Dickens with a loose update of the classic "Oliver Twist". I say loose not just because human characters have traded places with dogs and a cat but gone is Victorian Britain and in place we are in 1980's New York City. But this update of the classic works for the intended young audience who will be able to connect with the modern setting more than the original Victorian slums. In fact as a whole "Oliver & Company" works with plenty of adorable characters, imaginative humour and an 80s musical element with songs from the likes of Billy Joel and Better Midler.

But I would say that whilst "Oliver & Company" certainly aims to be classic Disney with characters who feel like they may have been cherry picked from earlier animations it doesn't quite reach the high standard needed. Everything about it is good but that little bit of detail is missing to make it great. Take the animation, it is all very lovely but has the feel that it was done with a deadline and so corners have been cut when it comes to things like the backdrops. And the humour, whilst there are some fun scenes such as when after getting soaked Dodger walks over a street air vent to dry off a lot of the humour ends up bordering on the annoying, thrown in possibly because they didn't have the time to find something better. Then there is the soundtrack which expectedly is very 80s and fits the movie but doesn't translate well when watched over 25 years later unlike the soundtracks to those classic Disney animations which still sound great.

What this all boils down to is that "Oliver & Company" is a lot of fun and certainly has that old Walt Disney feel harking back to a much earlier look. But it just lacks that touch of detail to make it attain the classic status of those earlier Walt Disney animations. Plus it is very much a product of the 80s with a soundtrack whilst pleasant dates it badly.

Tags: Dog Movies