The year is 1988. The film is Disney’s 27th animated feature, “Oliver & Company”, a twist on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” except taking place in present-day New York and with animals!
There’s a lot to say about this film so let’s waste no further time!
Umm…you may click: “More”, now!
Before we talk about this film, let’s bring up our “friend” again, Don Bluth, the animator who left Disney to start his own studios.
His first film that he made there was one called, “The Secret of NIMH”. Released in 1982, this animated film about genetically enhanced mice was not a blockbuster; but did moderately well and showed Disney that they would get competition from Don Bluth in the future.
Don Bluth’s second feature, “An American Tail” was released in 1986, the same year as Disney’s “The Great Mouse Detective”. Both films were successful, but which was more successful? The one about Russian Jewish mice moving to America!
“An American Tail” became the highest-grossing non-Disney animated film ever (which isn’t saying that much when you think about it)! And Disney definitely realized that they had a rival to deal with!
Now, we come to 1988, when both animation giants decide to release their respective animated films ON THE SAME DAY!
Don Bluth’s contender was “The Land Before Time” and Disney’s contender was today’s film, “Oliver & Company”! Both films were successful, but which was more successful? The one about a Sauropod whose mom dies and he has to find his way to a dinosaur safe haven!
“The Land Before Time” isn’t just successful, it’s SUPER SUCCESFUL! It becomes the HIGHEST-GROSSING ANIMATED FILM EVER, EVEN OUT-GROSSING DISNEY FILMS!
This eventually encouraged Disney to step up its game and led to arguably the greatest period of Disney animation that would last for 10 years! (We’ll talk more about that era in the next few entries)!
Now as you all know, I”m not really a fan of Don Bluth’s films, especially not these three that I just mentioned! So I’m not all too happy that these films did better than Disney’s! But to be fair, “Oliver & Company” is quite a weak film and quite an easy one to outdo!
The film, as I’ve mentioned before, is based on “Oliver Twist”, but re-tuned to take place in the present age and with animals. Oliver becomes an orange kitten,
Dodger becomes an older con dog,
and he works with other con dogs for a bum named Fagin!
Oliver somehow ends up working with the gang, until he’s found by a young girl named Jenny and is given a home!
Things go awry when an evil loan shark named Sykes enters the picture!
Fun fact: Marlon Brando was approached to voice this character, but declined!
Now, this movie is quite weak, but that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable! This movie has the most overrated Disney song in my opinion,
but also has two of the most underrated Disney songs in my opinion! They’re probably the only Disney songs that make me cr…almost cry!
This movie also has somewhat memorable characters! If you’ve seen this movie, you remember everybody; mainly because there’s not all that much to remember! So, it was a tough struggle to come up with a forgotten/minor character for this film!
I ended up picking Jenny’s goldfish (presumably). The goldfish appears in a scene when Jenny returns home from school and is looking for Oliver, her new pet. She asks Georgette, her old pet poodle, to help look for him. Then, all of a sudden, Georgette peers over a fishbowl with a goldfish in it!
WHAT?! JENNY HAS 3 PETS?! I understand that you can’t do much with fish, like take them for walks or anything,
but having fish still counts as having a pet and still requires responsibility! Jenny is all like, “Oliver’s my new best friend…oh and I have Georgette”; but does poor Goldie (I’m calling it Goldie) get a mention? NOOO!
Imagine how hurt Goldie must be feeling to be snubbed like that! First of all he’s bored swimming around in a fishbowl all day, and to top it off, he’s insulted! FISH DESERVE BETTER! And for that, I’m recognizing Goldie..umm…the goldfish…as the forgotten/minor character for this film!