The film premiered in 1988 (a very good year for birthdays!) and is
This film was so much fun! From the opening "Once Upon a Time in New York City" number to the great finale, this was super enjoyable. Oliver & Company has great characters, great music and great heart.
Oliver himself is adorable, but plucky at the same time. He certainly isn't afraid to stand up for himself, go after what he wants, or race to the rescue when someone is in trouble. The gang of dogs is an eclectic assortment... lead by the worry-free Dodger. Dodger may seem laid-back, but he clearly cares for his motley crew and fights for them every step of the way. Most of the gang add a good dose of comedy to the film. Most notably, Tito, a Chihuahua with major spunk. Then there's Georgette, Jennifer's spoiled (show-winning) poodle. Her narcissism and lack of street savvy provide great comedic fodder throughout the film.
The soundtrack to this film is also wonderful! Dodger's show-stopping "Why Should I Worry" and Rita's "Streets of Gold" belong on any Disney music lover's list of favorites! This would also probably be a good time to mention the voice cast for Oliver & Company. Dodger is voiced by the music legend: Billy Joel. (Did I mention he has a major show-stopping number, complete with a reprise?!) Bette Midler voiced Georgette (the poodle). You also have the talents of Ruth Pointer (of the Pointer Sisters) and Cheech Marin. Oh. And Oliver is voiced by a young (12-year-old) Joey Lawrence! :)
On top of the wonderful cast and music, this film also has heart. The characters band together to fight the villain and reunite the innocent. The film definitely treads on some morally gray areas in terms of stealing and petty crimes which should not necessarily be minimized, but the villains are clearly bad, and there is a true, good outcome to root for. There are friendships formed, sacrifices made, and a love worth fighting for.
I definitely enjoyed this stop on this Disney journey!
Here's a little Walt wisdom for the road:
Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil.
Coming Up Next Week: The Little Mermaid