Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Oliver & Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack) (1988)

Oliver & Company: 25th Anniversary EditionDuring the 80's, the studio hit an artistic, creative, and commercial slump. However, I still find that I quite enjoy Disney's 80's films, many of which experimented with computer animation, non-musical storylines, and different source materials. One of my favorite pre-Little Mermaid 80's Disney films is Oliver and Company. Boasting a soundtrack filled with great songs and a wonderful cast of characters, Oliver and Company finally gets the DVD treatment, albeit a less-than-stellar one.

For one, the transfer is good, but it could be much better and it has a fair amount of grain.

The bonus features could have been much better as well. A few fluff EPK-type featurettes, which are nice, but still fluffy, are sadly enough the meat of the bonuses. Also included, fortunately, are the original trailer, original TV spot, and the 1995 re-release trailer. Two sing-alongs are included as well as two classic Disney short cartoons.

Overall, it's nice to see Oliver and Company on DVD at last. This is probably the best DVD edition Disney will give it for at least a while, so if you're considering picking it up, go for it.

Poor, abandoned kitten Oliver is homeless on the streets of 1980s New York City, until he meets a streetwise dog named Dodger. The cool canine takes Oliver under his wing and, with the help of the rest of his all-dog pickpocket gang, begins to teach him how to survive on the wrong side of the law. But when one of their con jobs goes awry, Oliver ends up in the hands of a sweet, lonely, little rich girl named Jenny. Suddenly, Oliver is living the high-life in a Fifth Avenue penthouse, much to the chagrin of Jenny's prize-winning, pampered poodle, Georgette. When the old gang shows up to rescue Oliver from his ritzy new life, they're disappointed to find that he wants to stay with Jenny. Their human ringleader, Fagin, however, is more than happy to send Oliver home, if he can get a healthy ransom in the process. Fagin isn't really a bad guy, he's just one step above homeless and has a really nasty loan-shark breathing down his neck. Jenny shows up on the dark and dangerous docks to pay Oliver's ransom and rescue her little kitty, and her sadness is too much for Fagin to take, but loan-shark Sykes has no troubles from a conscience and sees a chance to make even more dirty money. He snatches up Jenny and plans to hold HER for ransom! Suddenly, Oliver, Dodger, Fagin and the gang find themselves on a desperate rescue mission to save Jenny from the ruthless Sykes and his bloodthirsty Doberman Pinschers, Roscoe and Desoto, and even Georgette is getting in on the heroic action!

There's no doubt about it, Disney's wonderfully charming classic "Oliver and Company" is one of the most dated animated films you'll ever see. Of course, that's a big part of its charm. What could be more "`80s" than 1980s New York City? How about the music of Billy Joel and Huey Lewis? I know they were two favorites of mine in the `80s! Okay, to be honest, Billy Joel and Huey Lewis aside, the `80s is something you look back on and mock rather than view fondly, especially the clothes, and Oliver and Company captures that aspect, along with many others, perfectly. So, it's dated. Everything is, really. Call it nostalgia. Anywho, as strongly `80s as "Oliver and Company" is, it rises above it! It is simply a great film! That's something that's easy to forget if you haven't seen it in a while. "Oliver and Company" is Disney's twist on Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist," and it is an EXCELLENT modernization! All the best characters are there, and the cast is star-studded! The piano man himself, Billy Joel, voices the artful Dodger, a canine so cool he puts Snoopy to shame (we still love ya, Snoopy)! The hilarious Cheech Marin is Tito the Chihuahua, animation alumnus Dom Deluise is Fagin, the divine Bette Midler is one of Disney's funniest characters as Georgette, Robert Loggia is the excellently slimy villain, Sykes, and a very young Joey Lawrence plays Oliver, just to name a few! With seamlessly incorporated computer animation and painstakingly acquired "dog's eye view" shots of New York City, "Oliver and Company" was the film that kicked off Disney's big comeback as an animation heavyweight, though this cute little film was easily forgotten in the wake of Disney's mega-hit, "The Little Mermaid," the following year. But don't let that stop you from enjoying the magic of "Oliver and Company" yourself! Even the soundtrack is terrific, despite that it is powerfully "80s." And, it's amazing how well Disney has translated "Oliver Twist" into a tale about cats and dogs on the streets of New York without losing the heart of the tale and its underlying messages. The DVD is fantastic as well, especially for a single-disc Disney release! This is the way DVDs should be! In addition to the widescreen presentation of the film, you get a behind the scenes featurette from the original theatrical release, 2 shorter featurettes, a TV spot, theatrical trailers, a scrapbook gallery of art and other materials, 2 sing-along-songs, and the best part: You get two classic Disney shorts! Included as extras are "Puss Cafe," a hilarious Pluto cartoon where the pup goes up against two troublesome felines invading his backyard, and "Lend a Paw," the Oscar winning Mickey Mouse short in which Pluto saves a kitten from drowning and quickly regrets it. Outstanding stuff, and an amazing selection of extras for a single-disc Disney DVD! Rediscover this Disney Classic on DVD today! You won't regret it!

Buy Oliver & Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack) (1988) Now

This Disney release is a joy especially considering the poor film-only DVD releases of late on Region 2 format.

Oliver and Company has been given a quality treatment and the DVD boasts the new technology with an animated menu and sound (not just a static picture). From the menu you can choose your various options including the well-endowed Bonus Features section.

The Bonus Features are fitting and plentiful including a lovely animated short (cartoon) called `Puss Café' from Disney's Golden Age. The 14 page extensive gallery with conceptual art, character development and layouts makes for good viewing and is a rare peak in to the wonderful making of the film progress which is also documented in an ample featurette.

In addition to these features Disney have also included a short featurette on the theatrical re-release of the film as well as a featurette on the animation of Disney animals throughout Disney history a gem of a bonus on this disc.

In true Disney style, as on R1 DVD releases, the DVD also has two Sing Along features.

The presentation, detail and consideration that has gone in to this DVD release sets a high standard for the new wave of UK DVDs from Disney. The included documentaries feature interviews with Bette Midler and Billy Joel et al. and are padded with interesting information which fans will welcome.

This film is a historic one for Disney just note the trial of CGI and rebirth of Disney magic under the omniscient eye of Roy Disney in his foundation attempts to regain dwindling love for the House of Mouse.

A winning feature with no flaws and many paws.

Read Best Reviews of Oliver & Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack) (1988) Here

So Happy this is finally coming out on Blu-Ray Disk. Oliver and Company is a fun take on the Dickens Classic. No it doesn't follow Dickens. It's just based on the idea. Great movie.

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I really adore this movie. It's been one of my favorites for a while. The songs are really good and I've memorized them all. My favorite song is definitley "Once Upon a Time in New York City". It matches my voice perfectly which is odd because it's also my favorite song.

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