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Oliver & Company

Oliver & Company (1988) https://letterboxd.com/smudgeefc1985...liver-company/

The Big Disney Challenge 27/56

This seems to be a very unpopular one for a lot of Disney fans, but I always loved it as a kid, had a book version etc. One of those I was a little concerned would have lost its shine over the years. Surprisingly though, I probably enjoyed it more.

Negatives first, my only copy of this was a horrendous pirate VHS so I always thought that despite enjoying it, it was quite ugly and grim in terms of animation. Having now actually seen it in HD...it's still pretty ugly! Some of the animation is really poorly done. I think it helps in some places, the animation of the city in general contributes to it's feeling of overall love of a city that despite it's wonders also has a darker side (especially in 1988). Other bits just look dark and bland, and almost dated compared to the advances seen in the previous couple of films. The subway scene particularly before they go onto the tracks.

So that's the negatives. I love the rest. The music especially. The music on Disney films absolutely exploded in quality from this point onwards. Having Billy Joel, Bette Midler and Huey Lewis involved clearly helped, all of the songs are very different and really good. As are the characters, the antithesis between good but bumbling Fagin and the evil Sykes is great. I know there are very similarities in the end between this and the source material, but a truly sinister villain is one thing they got right. Unlike most Disney villains who are fun and charismatic, Sykes is evil, and the fact they managed to create a film so dark as to have a villain this grimly realistic is something. The gang too, all very different characters with great chemistry with each other. It manages to still maintain it's humour and heart, even through the darkness.

Best Song: Streets of Gold
Tough one, I love all of them, especially the opening Once Upon a Time on New York City. Great balance through the whole film of sombre, and more fun numbers all the way through.

Best Scene:
Georgette trying frantically to clear the gang out of her room as they come to rescue Oliver. Most of the comic relief in this scene, and it's very funny.

As An Adult:
Some slightly questionable moments around Tito and Georgette. Gender politics still a little sketchy around this time it seems despite big strides being made with the Rescuers a decade earlier.

Tito again, a couple of the old fashioned 'hide race behind an animal' going on.

Did I Cry? I cry way too much at various points of this film. It's that bloody opening, it's like Up, it just gets you in teary state from the start!