Disney gives "Oliver and Company" a high-definition upgrade in celebration of its 25th Anniversary of release. I'm not entirely sure that revisiting Disney classics on Blu-ray is producing the results the Mouse House wants from me. Sometimes the movies you see as a child don't hold up so well when you experience them again as an adult.
"The Rescuers" and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" still carry the same magic they did when I first saw them. I've also discovered a few I didn't see the first time around which now hold a special place in my heart, with "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" immediately coming to mind. Unfortunately, there are also a couple that lose their luster when viewed again through older eyes, like "The Sword in the Stone." I'll be adding "Oliver and Company" to the last category.
A wayward kitten named Oliver spends his days and nights wandering the streets of New York City. While searching for food, he runs into a dog named Dodger who spends his days scrounging up food for his misfit family of stray dogs and assisting their homeless human friend Fagin make ends meet. Just as Oliver joins the canine clan, he is adopted by a girl named Penny. Danger materializes in the form of a pack of Dobermans that Penny's parents. They take a disliking to Oliver and plan to remove the threat to their home any way they can.
"Oliver and Company" is nothing more than a water-downed version of "Oliver Twist" that injects the sounds of Billy Joel, Bette Midler, and Broadway musicals together into one intolerable experience. Replace the humans in Charles Dickens' classic novel with animals and you have a recipe for annoyance. It's 74 minutes of sheer pain and agony for parents to endure while their children smile and giggle at the cuteness unfolding onscreen.
One of the biggest problems with "Oliver and Company" is they dumb down the main villain of the book. The character of Fagin from Dickens' novel is a perfect example of evil and cruelty. Disney makes him a sympathetic bumbling bad guy with a good heart in this animated version.
Two things I can't complain about when it comes to the "Oliver and Company" 25th Anniversary Edition is its audio and video transfers for Blu-ray. The picture is clean and the colors are vibrant. The 5.1 surround mix envelopes you in the bombastic sounds of music and chaotic noises of New York City.
There are some fun special features found on the "Oliver and Company" 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. Two bonus shorts entitled "Lend a Paw" and "Puss Café" are included. It also contains "The Making of 'Oliver and Company.'" Disney Sing-Along Mode and an Animated Animals featurette are among other bonus material.
The "Oliver and Company" 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray will no doubt keep children entertained. I imagine most parents love the movie as well. My negative opinion of the film will be largely ignored by most. I will say that if you are a fan of the film, this new version is essential to your home entertainment library.
The "Oliver and Company" 25th Anniversary Edition is available now on Blu-ray.