There are two main reasons to keep young children away from Oliver & Company: boredom and fear. Regarding the boredom: My 2-year-old bailed after 7 minutes to play with his toy cars. My 5-year-old went the distance, but stopped watching twice – once to show me a photo album he made, and the other to let me know that “we need to buy more Scooby-Doo Band-Aids.” And it’s only a 74-minute movie.
As for the fear, the film includes:
- Lots of close-ups of growling, snarling dogs showing their sharp teeth
- Threats of death and inflicting of pain
- A phone conversation by Sykes where he says, “Don’t kill ‘em yet” and agrees with using “concrete shoes”
- Kidnapping and gunplay
- Electrocution (both comedic and fatal)
- The film is dark in both lighting and tone. No one is nice to each other for the first half of the film – which is almost totally comprised of dreary, unlit hideouts and waterfront piers.
- The musical numbers are almost nothing but disposable late-‘80s pop songs.
- The animation is iffy; at times, you wouldn’t know it’s a Disney film unless someone told you.
Rating: 1 star (out of 5).
Will your kids want to see it?Since Disney doesn’t really mention Oliver & Company when touting their “classics,” it’s highly unlikely your little ones will know about this 20-year-old film. [UPDATE: Disney released the Oliver & Company: 20th Anniversary Edition DVD on February 3, 2009.] But if they trip across it somehow, guide them toward better Disney titles (maybe any of the three I mentioned above).
Will your FilmMother want to see it?Hopefully no, since you’ll tell her about this review. Right?
Oliver & Company
Director: George Scribner
Screenwriters: Jim Cox, Timothy J. Disney, James Mangold
Stars (voices): Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan, Dom DeLuise, Robert Loggia
MPAA Rating: G
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