Document details

Disney Animation Enters The Midler Age, Winningly
A Review of Oliver & Company
Harry McCracken

For fifty years, it has not been common for Disney animated features to be set in a time and place that much resemble those of their making. The country such a film is set in is substantially more likely to be England than the United States; the year is most often identified sketchily, if at all.

Times and the Disney studio have changed, and Oliver & Company announces its identity as a product of the Walt Disney studio of the late 1980s in many ways: its setting in a fairly realistic present-day New York; the product placements located strategically throughout the film; the presence of Bette Midler. Happily, Oliver manages not only to survive all this, but also to be a better film than The Great Mouse Detective, The Fox and the Hound, and even some of the Woolie Reitherman films it recalls.

The heart of what's right about Oliver & Company is the success with which it makes Fagin's gang of thieving dogs into real, likable personalities. (Oliver himself is just a cute kitten, but then, Dickens's Oliver Twist was essentially a cute orphan boy.) The film has its share of slapstick, chases, and other loud and funny material meant to please kids; but it's admirable how often it slows its pace to deal in some very well-done character comedy. The scene in which the dogs tuck Fagin into bed and slip a dog biscuit into his mouth is one of the funniest, most genuinely warm moments in any Disney cartoon in years.



Source type Magazine
Volume 18
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text
Page count 1
Pages p. 22


Id 4669
Availability Free
Inserted 2020-02-04