When I heard that Disney was releasing a 20th Anniversary Edition of “Oliver & Company” the first thing that came to my mind was how long ago 1988 seems. It was pre-internet, the Berlin wall still stood, and Miley Cyrus’ birth was still 4 years away. And yet Oliver & Company really pushed the boundaries for Walt Disney Feature Animation.
There was ample use of computer generated animation. All the cars on the road, Fagan’s cart, and that great staircase descent of Bette Midler’s spoiled Poodle Georgette were CGI. In fact, the staircase shot was in many ways a precursor to the great tree-surfing scene that was so spectacular in Tarzan.
In Oliver & Company, Disney presents an unforgettable musical adventure as Oliver, an adorable stray kitten (voiced by Joey Lawrence), takes Manhattan by storm! When Dodger (Billy Joel), a street-smart mutt with a weakness for mischief, befriends the homeless tabby, he introduces his new pal to his pack of pickpocket pooches, run by the nefarious Sykes (Robert Loggia).
Just as Oliver is about to begin a life of crime, he is rescued by a rich girl named Jenny, who takes him home to live in luxury with her and her spoiled poodle Georgette (Bette Midler). But when Sykes finds out about Oliver’s new benefactor, he hatches a plot to abscond with the little girl and hold her for ransom. The courageous kitty and his new found friends must race to the rescue in an electrifying chase through the city’s labyrinthine subway system in order to bring Jenny home.
Oliver & Company’s, Disney’s 27th full-length animated film, celebrates its 20th anniversary in a special edition DVD with enough fun and laughter for the whole family. The adorable gang of animal outcasts comes to you with brilliant animation, a fantastic soundtrack and the amazing voice talents of Billy Joel, Bette Midler, and Huey Lewis, that puts Oliver & Company on track to win the hearts of a whole new generation.
As for special features, the 20th Anniversary Edition comes with animated shorts, behind–the-scenes featurettes and an all-new game that the parents and kids will love to play together. Not exactly anything to write home about. The shorts are cute and memorable, but the featurettes are literally nothing new. I would have at least appreciated a retrospective from some of those involved in the project and where they are today.
If you don’t have Oliver & Company in your Disney DVD collection, now is your chance to catch up with this unique animated feature.
(DVD details below the cut)