Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Oliver & Company


Inspired by Charles Dicken's novel Oliver Twist (1838), which has been adapted for both stage and screen on numerous occasions, Disney's twenty-seventh animated feature is set in the present day (1988) New York, with Oliver (Joey Lawrence) as an orphan kitten, and Fagin's (Dom DeLuise) gang made up of dogs, led by Dodger (Billy Joel).

The plot follows Oliver, wandering around the streets of New York, lost, until he is taken in by crook Fagin and his loyal dogs Dodger, Tito (Cheech Marin), Rita (Sheryl Lee Ralph), Einstein (Richard Mulligan) and Francis (Roscoe Lee Brown). Fagin is in debt to psychopathic gangster Sykes (Robert Loggia) and has three days to pay him back so he, the dogs and Oliver start trying to do anything they can to get the money. However, Tito's attempt to hotwire a flash car goes wrong, and Jenny (Natalie Gregory), the little girl in the back, finds Oliver and takes him home with her. The dogs take him back with help from Jenny's envious poodle Georgette (Bette Midler) and leave a ransom note. Jenny goes to meet Fagin carrying only her piggy bank, but Fagin doesn't have the heart to take it and gives Oliver back to her, only for her to be kidnapped by Sykes. Oliver, the dogs and Fagin then go on a rescue mission to get Jenny out of Sykes's (possibly homicidal) clutches.

There are some enjoyable segments in the film, particularly in scenes involving Fagin's dogs, especially Dodger, and the climactic chase through the New York subway will have you on the edge of your seat. There are also some very catchy songs such as Why Should I Worry? and Streets of Gold. The characters are also quite fun, particularly Tito whose persistent attempts to woo Georgette are comic cold, and Francis's British melodramaticness/thespianness will make you laugh without fail. However, the magic of many previous Disney animations isn't there. The animation isn't as well done and detailed as it is in previous Disneys - the New York city scenes were clearly rushed when drawn, as they lack the detail of other films set in cities, such as 101 Dalmatians (1961) and The Aristocats (1970). As well as this there are some very annoying songs such as Perfect Isn't Easy and Good Company. And to top it off there are some very dull characters such as Jenny, and primadonna poodle Georgette and uptight butler Winston (William Glover) both become very irritating very quickly, although Fagin's dogs and Oliver more than make up for it as they are consistenly funny and carry the film.

However, at the end of the day, the film is still very enjoyable, even if it is by no means up to the standard of all time Disney classics, and is definetly worth watching.

Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Dom DeLuise, Natalie Gregory, Robert Loggia, Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Roscoe Lee Brown, Bette Midler, Taurean Blacque, Carl Weintraub, William Glover.

Golden Globe nomination: Best Original Song (Why Should I Worry? - Dan Hartman, Charlie Midnight).

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