Straight after Jpenny decides to make something for Oliver because a box of kitten food is beneath her somehow, and even though it has the potential to kill him. She also leaves the Kitchen in a state, since I doubt she will be the one cleaning it up, total spoiled cow!
Jpenny leaves said Kitchen which is the moment Oliver and Georgette meet, and it goes as well as you can expect. We have Oliver with his childish innocence and truthful comments to Georgette, ensures she lays down the law. She is the one is charge, she owns everything and yeah we get it, it’s all yours!
At this point Jpenny comes back in andformally introduces them to each other, and it’s interesting to note that the film is called Oliver and Company,but until this moment no one has called the kitten that, it’s normally “Kid” or something similar. So that’s a nice bit of writing, and Oliver officially has a name.
Whilst this is going on, the rest of the Street Dogs, are with Fagan as he tries and fails to sell the shit that they’ve stolen to a pawn ship, so Fagan still can’t catch a break, as the dogs discuss Oliver and where he’s now hiding since they have it in their heads to rescue him so they can take the heat off!
Ok what the fuck? He’s a kitten there is no animal crime squad, there is no heat…Because no one cares. All they have to do is leave him alone and that is it. But they decide to deviate from their job of helping Fagan to rescues Oliver “Because he’s family”. Ok, no he isn’t, he was in the crew for no more than twenty-four hours, it was his first day on the job…and he fucked that up too.
At Jpenny’s place however we see kitten and owner bonding through the magic of song, and I dare you to watch this and not think of “Scales and Arpeggios” from The Aristocats, I bloody dare you! Since the montage that follows borrows scenes from that film…my god, they were so desperate they ripped off The Aristocats…that is desperate, as Oliver gets a solid gold name tag. Yes, Jpenny is rich…we get it.
The next day, as Jpenny is getting the bus to school…so she’s filthy rich and gets a school bus…1980’s wealth I guess! And due to a series of contrived events, the Street dogs gain entrance to the townhouse, and Wilson is locked outside.
The Street dogs are impressed with Oliver’s new surroundings, and Rita perhaps being the only sane one questioning if they should take Oliver, whist Georgette is talking to herself in the mirror (thankfully it doesn’t talk back), but Dodger does since he’s managed to get into her room as we get this little gem.
Georgette: Don’t come any closer! I knew this would happen some day!
Dodger: It’s not you I’m after
Georgette (clearly pissed off): It’s not? It’s not?! Well, why not?
Hold on a second, this is a rape joke…A blatant rape joke in a Disney film! Holy shit, how did they get away with that? I know most Disney films have parental bonuses, but a rape joke!
After Georgette has taken the time to point out her trophies, she learns that the Gang are there for Oliver, concocting a bullshit story at how he misses them all, so decides to help…what a total bitch, even though Tito is enamoured with her, for some reason!
So the Gang approach little Oliver, asleep on a pillow all happy and sweet, as they stuff him in a pillowcase and get out through the fire escape, at Georgette’s direction as Tito manages to get a kiss and a slap from her for his efforts.
Now back at the boat, Oliver is naturally unimpressed and it goes as well as you expect since he’s devastated, Rita is at least remorseful and Dodger is a total bastard to the kitten, and acts like he’s betrayed his “family”. He was in the “Family” for a day that’s not enough time to put down roots Dodger, who coldly points him to the door.
Almost on cue, Fagan enters, lamenting that he hasn’t got the money so is royally fucked, picking up the kitten on the way, spying Oliver’s solid gold name tag, he either had a brainwave or a breakdown…I’m leaning towards the latter as he decides to ransom Oliver back, and writes down instructions which he posts through Jpenny’s letter box as she returns home from school and immediately begins looking for her kitten, with Georgette faking emotions until the letter is found and Penny instead of taking it to her guardians or calling the Police, decides to sort it out herself…Much to Georgette’s horror. It really is something in a film, when the only competent human is Sikes and he’s the Villain.
Speaking of Sikes, Fagan goes to him that night after psyching himself up opposite Dodger and his Office looks like an abandoned building on the docks. Why not paint “Villain lair” in neon paint whilst they were at it?
Whilst Fagan is getting to the office, we see Sikes on the phone, giving instructions on torture to some unknown person, and it’s nice to learn that it starts with “The knuckles and ends with Concrete shoes”. I think everyone figured out he’s the villain, but overkill is underrated isn’t it?
Sykes since Fagan has another breakdown in his presence, orders his dogs to kill Fagan, and Dodger in perhaps his most unselfish move to date dives in to protect his master and gets hurt in the process, almost feeling sympathy for Dodger…almost.
As Sikes takes the kitten in his hand, easily looking like he could rip Oliver’s head off with ease, he’s impressed so he decides to let Dodger and Fagan live…for now.
Next scene it’s the middle of the night, and Jpenny along with Georgette (for protection I guess!) who has the look on her face that says she would rather be elsewhere as Jpenny and god knows how she managed to follow the map to the docks and because apparently no one told her not to talk to creepy smell men in the Docklands. She regales Fagan with the fact that her cat has been stolen and points out when Fagan attempts to say that he may have been desperate (bullshit) and Jpenny points out that is isn’t right, after showing Fagan the contents of her piggy bank.
See even though Jpenny’s parents are rich, she’s a little girl with a piggy bank and Fagan never specified an amount just “Lots and lots of money”. Realization descending on Fagan, it seems which causes Fagan to grow a conscience which he wrestles with for a moment before deciding to do the right thing. But instead of confessing all to Jpenny, he instead claims he found Oliver in a box, which he presents to the girl.
Ahh what a happy ending this should, have been, if Sikes didn’t suddenly appear out of nowhere, drag Jpenny into his CGI car and for good measure throw Oliver out of the window telling Fagan that “their account is settled” Awesome, happy times for Fagan…because Jpenny has been kidnapped!
The dogs and Oliver, followed by Fagan decide to go to rescue her whilst they concoct a plan, and as plans go it’s a pretty good one since they use the skills we’ve seen earlier so their actions are not too farfetched.
At the building Georgette is the first to enter, at Tito’s insistence. Now he was calling it chivalry, but I personally thing she was bait so they wouldn’t be killed if Sikes guards were there. That’s quite dark and delicious, a potential canine sacrifice…I appreciate that. Especially since she almost broke the cover by complaining that she broke a nail, of course she had to say that didn’t she?
Whilst the Street dogs are distracting the guard dogs, Jpenny is tied up and sobbing as Sikes is threatening Winston for a ransom. How fucked up is this film? The rest of the scene I am not describing just buy the DVD as it’s well paced, well plotted and there is even a riff on Snow White from Tito, but also it’s a fake climax as Fagan bursts in grabs everyone decent, well everyone who’s not Sikes and the Guard dogs and tears it out if there, eventually ending up in the subway on his motorbike trolley cart hybrid thing.
The car and cart battle it out on the subway tracks, as the Guard dogs are killed by electrocution. We actually witness this…we actually see dog death in a Disney film. As Jpenny manages to wind up in Sikes car, before Oliver dives in to help, as Jpenny gets free and calls Fagan by his name…ok at what point did the pair exchange names?
But anyway, Jpenny is free Oliver is still in the Limousine…which as Fagan’s trolley thing somehow defies the laws of gravity and manages to jump up on the ledge perhaps because Tito was the one driving! Sikes’s car is hit by a train, he is killed we see it happen. What the fuck!
Ok, villain dead in perhaps the most brutal sense ever, Oliver is believed dead…of course, he lives; this film couldn’t get darker if it tried and everyone celebrates.
We now cut to Jpenny’s birthday party where everyone associated with this story, and still alive is there…well apart from her friends, right like she’s got no friends?
The street dogs give Jpenny the gift of stolen goods, just what every little girl wants. Tito and Georgette are dancing together and Jpenny’s parents are on their way home…And are likely to be pretty fucked off when they hear what happened to their daughter, who is dressed like Annie, as she gives Fagan a hug, when he should be in jail for endangering a child like he did! Eventually, the street dogs go to leave, and Tito decides not to stick around because Georgette wants to give him a bath and dress him up…suck it up man.
It is now clear that Oliver has the respect of Dodger and has street savoir faire and is now Vice Present of The Uptown Chapter of Street Dogs…lucky Oliver!
Fagan is called a “delightful scoundrel” by Wilson as we get a reprise of “Why should I worry”. Sung by all the dogs and fuck me that song is catchy as we get a last look of New York City and the World Trade Centre…god I miss it too.
This is a hard one to critique, the last film before the Renaissance (I know I think otherwise), the last moment of getting rid of the old. I am writing this to find something positive about it and I really can’t.
Let’s start with the animation, now having it in a contemporary setting was something new and interesting and something few Disney films have ever done, the issue is that they were trying to be original and they set it in the 1980’s. The decade I grew up in and remember, and it was shit. There was a recession, it was dirty, the miners were striking and John Hurt was telling me I could die of Ignorance…oh and AIDS too!
No one can get nostalgic about this time, so they set the film in the 1980’s and I give them dues since New York looks like a total shit hole, because it was a total shithole and a certain level makes no sense, even if it is nice seeing a certain building again.
The animation itself is flawed, it looks rushed, and there is no connection between scenes even though some scenes are beautiful. “Perfect isn’t easy” isn’t a perfect song, but you can tell that was a labour of love for the animators and it shows.
Character wise, now naturally it’s diverting from its source text quite a bit, but at the same time at the end of this film everyone loves Fagan. Fagan is a man who kidnapped a cat, tried to ransom said cat, endangered a child, steals for a living and also abuses dogs. He is not a “nice fellow”, he is a bastard and instead of inviting him to the party, they should have called the cops! But he’s free to steal another day, well good on him.
Out of the dogs, the rest are all stereotypes, even though they are all talented actors, even though I found Tito amusing, but since it’s voiced by Cheech Marin, that’s easy to do.
Villain wise we have Sikes voiced by Robert Loggia, now as a Villain he’s a bastard but his voice and the cold detachment of this film gives it the push he needs, since he’s a bad guy but an unashamed one.
With Oliver however, now Joey Lawrence was about ten or eleven when he did the voice and it’s cute, it’s sweet, and the emotional centre the film needed, and it’s one that doesn’t overstay its welcome. When he’s having a go at Dodger to taking him for from his new home, you actually believe his performance.
With Dodger however we get the singer Billy Joel. Now he’s doing what he can with the material, but he’s trying too hard to be likable and he isn’t. He’s a bastard, both to his crew and also to Oliver. He seems to have possession issues and never takes anyone’s feelings into considerations.
But the final voice is also the biggest issue of the film and that is Dom DeLuise, now I have nothing against Dom DeLuise, the actor. I thought he was great, however at this time he was doing a lot of voice work, but his range like Sterling Holloway’s wasn’t vast, so he sounds like Tiger in An American Tale and like Itchy from All Dogs go the Heaven. He is doing his best with the material, but this film does not feel like a Disney film, it feels like a Don Bluth film, from the setting of New York to the animals. Even though both those films are better than this, because this feels hollow, it feels rushed and it’s a middling film, and is not a classic, nor does it deserve to be. It’s trying to be good, but it’s trying too hard so fails on every level.
Now we hit the Renaissance, but as a Christmas treat next week I’m going to be covering Maleficent. Which I have never seen, so this should be interesting.