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20 Weeks of Disney Animation: ‘Oliver & Company’

Oliver & Company came at an interesting time for the Disney company. They didn’t know it yet, but everything was about to change with the release of their next film, The Little Mermaid. However, the two films could not be more different. The Little Mermaid offers beautiful ballads and Broadway show tunes, whereas Oliver & Company offers maybe one interesting song at best. The characters of The Little Mermaid are funny and memorable, yet the characters here are bland and forgettable. And, of course, The Little Mermaid has the legendary villain of Ursula, and Oliver has, well, Sykes.

Read: 20 Weeks of Disney Animation: ‘The Great Mouse Detective’

Something to note: Oliver & Company was originally intended as a sequel to The Rescuers, which followed Penny living in the city with her adoptive parents. Of course, we did get a sequel to The Rescuers not long after this and what a relief that we got that film as the sequel rather than this. When comparing this film to other Disney classics, it just does not hold up. For one thing, it is very clearly in the 1980s, which immediately dates the film. Potentially, this could have been enjoyable but it isn’t because, like I said before, the 80s music is just not good. Another problem is the quality of the animation: the poor quality is one of the first things. This is surprising, particularly for a Disney film, but the animation is just not up to par, even for one that came out of this often problematic period it the history of the company.

Most people know that Oliver & Company originates from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist but with dogs and cats instead of children. At best, I suppose this is an interesting way to introduce children to a Dickens classic. Yet, that story has been told so much better in so many other ways that I am hesitant to even recommend this movie for that. Unless you are a Disney completist like me, skip it.

Live-action remake: No live-action remake has been announced for Oliver & Company.

Oliver & Company in the theme parks: From 1989-1992, the song “Why Should I Worry?” was featured in the Disney Mania stage show at Magic Kingdom. However, there is no sign of Oliver & Company in any of the theme parks anymore.

Oliver & Company is available to stream on Disney+.

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