1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Reviews #27 - Oliver and Company

Monday, May 19, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #27 - Oliver and Company

Disney Movie Review: 27/53 - Oliver and Company

Ryan Dosier - Oliver and Company (1988) has a lot of aspects going for it that should make for a very good animated film. Unfortunately, it never succeeds at being anything but just okay. It lacks the spark and the wonder of really good films by relying too much on gritty New York City realism and trying to mix it with animated comedy. For the most part it fails.

Some big name late-80s personalities headline the film, as Billy Joel voices Dodger and Bette Midler voices Georgette. Both of their musical numbers are really electric and great, but for the rest of the film the voice acting from these two is rather lazy and disappointing. Billy Joel, as the laid back Dodger, seems especially bored.

The hilarious, manic, wonderful Dom DeLuise, who voices Fagin, provides the greatest voice in the film. DeLuise kills it in Oliver and Company, creating a fantastically fun voice for a rather lame character. DeLuise gives himself to the role in a really strong way and practically disappears into it. In fact, I didn’t realize it was DeLuise doing the voice until watching it this time, which says a lot.

The music is enjoyable but easy to forget. This is the first real musical Disney animated film since The Fox and the Hound, but not many will remember this film for its music. Oliver and Company never works as a musical because the songs are not as important as they should be. Only the song “Why Should I Worry?” is given a real headlining moment in the film. This is appropriate, since it’s the best of the bunch.

The characters are rather one-dimensional in the film, especially the titular Oliver, who is nothing more than a cute cat that wants a family. He doesn’t grow as a character at all—in fact none of the characters truly grow. By the end, Fagin is still making bets he knows he can’t pay off; Dodger is still carefree and careless. Really only Georgette grows slightly by actually returning the affections of the Chihuahua Tito. She is still a spoiled brat, but at least she learned to love the lame.

The layouts and backgrounds are incredibly detailed and beautiful. Most of them are seen from the perspective of dogs and cats, so it’s a really interesting take on New York City. The animation of the main characters is also really strong. The dogs are wonderfully drawn and animated throughout. There are even more uses of computer animation here as well, and they make for some pretty spectacular scenes.

I really do wish I enjoyed Oliver and Company better. It is a fun, well-made film, but overall it’s lacking in the things that made the other Disney features so good. Oliver and Company just isn’t my cup of tea, I suppose.

2/5 Dancing Dogs

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