Oliver & Company is a 1988 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and based on Charles Dicken's classic novel Oliver Twist. It is the 27th animated feature film in the Disney animated canon and directed by George Scribner. It was released on November 18, 1988.
After being abandoned on the streets of New York City, a young kitten meets and befriends a gang of street-smart mutts led by the artful Dodger. The dogs' master, Fagin, is in a bad situation, as he owes a lot of money to a loan shark named Sykes, and has to pay it within three days or less. The dogs and kitten all try their best to find a way to earn enough money to pay off the debt, but in the process, the kitten is taken in by a lonely rich girl named Jenny, whose parents are out of town on a trip. She names him Oliver, and he becomes her best friend. But Dodger and the gang, thinking that Oliver had been kidnapped, steal him back, but Oliver says he wants to be with Jenny. Seeing that Oliver was at a wealthy person's home, Fagin concocts a scheme to random Oliver to the "very rich cat owner person", but will Jenny be able to pay the money owned to get Oliver back?
Why It RocksEdit
- The voice cast is great and give the characters lots of personality, in particular Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Roscoe Lee Browne and Cheech Marin.
- Its location is interesting. It was rare at that point for Disney movies to take place in a contemporary modern setting, with most leading towards a period of the past or unspecified time. The last Disney movie set in modern times was The Rescuers eleven years earlier. The artwork and animation for New York is not the usual polish and smooth lines of a Disney fairy tale. The rougher edges and colouring give the movie a personality of its own.
- The music. This movie has an equally modern and New York sounding soundtrack, with the majority of the songs being blues and pop rock songs. Most famously is the song "Why Should I Worry?", a catchy and cool song. Georgina's song, "Perfect Isn't Easy" is also a great character song for introducing her and establishing her vain personality, and perhaps best of all, "Once Upon a Time in New York City", the opening theme, is a great way to start the movie and is a very heartwarming and enduring song. Also heartwarming is "Good Company", Jenny's tribute to her newfound friendship with Oliver (it even has a montage of moments they spent together at the park). The incidental music is also great, mixing orchestra with blues, 80's synth and hip hop. Like the animation, the music helps the movie establish its own identity.
- The characters are lovable. While not as celebrated as some other ensemble cast, the characters grow on you rapidly and have enjoyable personalities. Dodger, Oliver, Fagin, Jenny, and Georgette especially have a lot of character growth. The weakest is probably the villain Sykes, but even he makes for a threatening presence along with his guard dogs Roscoe and DeSoto. He also gets a satisfying defeat.
- The film itself is an interesting point in Disney's history. This was technically the last movie to come out during unfairly named "Disney Dark Ages", the era after Walt Disney's death until the release of The Little Mermaid in 1989. Oliver & Company would effect The Little Mermaid and consequently the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s in many ways. For example, it was the first Disney movie to employ lyricist Howard Ashman, who would also work on The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, and some other Disney movies. As such, it is always interesting to compare Oliver & Company with what came later.