“Oliver and Company” 20th Anniversary 2 Disc DVD Review
Disney doesn’t have too many epic failures in the animated feature film department. ‘Oliver and Company’ though is one of those rare special cases from the Disney vault. The film had a total US gross of $27 million dollars at the box office in 1988. It makes this somewhat a special case as this was one of the first Disney film to ever use computer generated animation mixed in with the hand drawn animation. While the film didn’t do well theatrically, it helped become a launching pad for Disney to release some of the larger hits of the 90’s. The animated CGI would be heavily incorporated in films like ‘The Little Mermaid’ which followed one year later.
The 80’s weren’t too kind to Disney when their competition was ‘All Dogs Go To Heaven’ and ‘The Land Before Time’. Things started turning around for Disney as I mentioned with ‘The Little Mermaid’. I would not let low numbers from the box office skew my opinion about a film, considering that ‘Oliver and Company’ is fairly enjoyable.
What I found interesting about ‘Oliver and Company’ is that Disney took the tale of ‘Oliver Twist’ updating it with animals. Oliver (Joey Laurence) is a kitten in this film which has been adopted by a dog named Dodger (Billy Joel). Dodger is the leader of a gang of dogs which they teach Oliver how to survive on the streets. With the young dog that Oliver is, he is rather inexperienced to survive on the streets alone, is actually found by a young girl named Jenny (Natalie Gregory). Jenny warms up to Oliver so she takes him in. His newfound friends begin to worry about him, they plan to get him out of Jenny’s home thinking that he was taken away.
While this isn’t one of Disney’s griping tales, it is an animated film that the whole family can sit down and enjoy. You can’t go wrong here especially with the top notch voice talent used. Joey Lawrence, Cheech Marin, Billy Joel, Robert Loggia, Richard Mulligan, Dom DeLuise, Joel and Bette Middler provide the voice over work. They are enthusiastic at all times keeping the film from ever becoming a drab. There were a few times throughout the film that did feel a bit too intense for the younger kids. Another small issue that I had was some of the holes in the story, but not anything that would deter anyone from viewing this film.
Movie Content: 4/5
The film is presented in 1.66:1 aspect ratio with an anamorphic widescreen presentation. The first DVD release didn’t receive the proper treatment that it deserved back in 2002. This new 20th Anniversary edition corrects some of the issues from the first DVD release. I still did see some instances of awkward animations that weren’t cleaned up. Colors are strong and vibrant, yet there were a few times where the image did appear soft. This softness would cause the image to lose some detail in a few spots. There is some evident print damage which should have been cleaned up by this second go around. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. There was some light surround use and enjoyable sound quality. The rear speakers are mainly used for the score and the occasional sound effects, such as during the storm early on.
Print/Audio Quality: 3.5/5
- Games & Activities [NEW] – Oliver’s Big City Challenge Game
- Backstory Disney – The Making of Oliver and Company
- Disney’s Animated Animals: A Look at the History of Animals in Disney Films
- Oliver & Company Scrapbook
- Lend A Paw Animated Short – Pluto rescues a kitten and saves the day
- Puss Café Animated Short
- Sing Alongs
Special Features: 4/5
‘Oliver and Company’ is a fun entertaining film for the who family albeit a few of the holes with the plot. The film offers some top notch voice talent that would surprise many for a film that didn’t do so well at the theaters. I highly recommend this film as a rental before purchasing.
Overall Rating: 4/5 (Rental)