Disney: Oliver & Company
"Why should I worry?Disney Animated Canon entry number 27 released in 1988, about talking animals, very loosely based on Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. In fact, if it were any looser, it'd fall right off. The setting is New York City, and Oliver is an unwanted ginger kitten who isn't even called Oliver yet. Fagin's gang is now made up of dogs, including a mongrel named Dodger (as in the Artful Dodger). Fagin himself is human, and he's a good guy this time (and not a Jew either, apparently). In fact, he's just some poor schmoe trying to pay off Loan Shark Mr. Sykes (based on Bill Sikes), the Big Bad; here a sinister gangster/Mafia type. The part of Mr. Brownlow is taken by Jenny, a 7-year-old girl who adopts Oliver.The film is somewhat notable for some early use of CGI (mostly to create New York's traffic), and for being the last film of Disney's pre-Renaissance era - it came out just one year before The Little Mermaid. It staffed many new artists who would rise to popularity with Disney's future releases. It's also important to note that the moderate success of this film brought back Disney's will to animate musicals, so you should thank it for songs like "Under The Sea", "Beauty and the Beast", "A Whole New World", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", and so on, and so forth, etc., ad nauseum.Visit here for the Video Game.
Why should I care?
Yeah, I may not have a dime, but
I got street savoir-faire."
Why should I care?
Yeah, I may not have a dime, but
I got street savoir-faire."
This film contains examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Gender reversed with Tito for Georgette. At first, anyway.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has "Oliver" by Chami Satonaka as its theme song.
- Animal Talk
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Georgette when it becomes clear Dodger didn't break into her room for sex.
- Artful Dodger: No, duh.
- Artistic License – Animal Care: As the picture on the Trope Page shows, NEVER feed ice cream to a cat.
- Kind of Justified. Plenty of children Jenny's age feed their pets human luxuries, unaware of the risks.
- Audible Gleam: Oliver's license, on his new collar.
- Ax-Crazy: Sykes. Not so much for wielding an ax to stop the gang from escaping his warehouse, but for the fact that he drives his car onto the subway tracks without regard for oncoming trains as he pursues the gang to kidnap Jenny once more.
- Badass Adorable: Each dog that's a major character probably qualifies as Badass, though YMMV on how "adorable" they are. Oliver, on the other hand, is Badass Adorable with the emphasis on "adorable." The "badass" part comes from his occasional CMOAs.Fagin: That reminds me, I saw Desoto's nose; who did that?
(Dodger presents Oliver to Fagin)
Fagin: You... you? *Laughs* That took a lot of guts! We have never had a cat in the gang before...we can use all the help we can get.
- Badass Fingersnap: You really don't want to be in the same room with Sykes when he snaps his fingers, because chances are Roscoe and DeSoto are there and all too willing to tear you to shreds at their master's command.
- Big Applesauce
- Big Bad: Sykes.
- Big Friendly Dog: Einstein.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends with an elevated shot of Lower Manhattan.
- Bowdlerize: Fagin not being Jewish here arguably counts.
- Bound and Gagged: Well, just bound: Sykes makes sure Jenny can't escape by tying her wrists behind a chair.
- The Cameo: Jock, Trusty, Peg and Pongo appear during "Why Should I Worry?"
- Cat Stereotype: Oliver is orange, and is one of the nicest characters in the movie.
- Catch Phrase: Dodger "Absitively Posolutely"
- Chase Scene: The climax.
- Conspicuous CG: Watch the animation of Georgette descending stairs during her "I Am" song, "Perfect Isn't Easy", for some early computer graphics.
- The ENTIRE MOVIE is loaded with conspicuous CG animation; New York City's traffic, Sykes's car, Fagin's cart, etc. They're all CGI. The final chase sequence makes really heavy use of this as well. This was the first Disney animated feature to use CGI in such a heavy manner (instead of for certain sequences like the previous two films did.)
- Cool Car: Sykes' car.
- Cool Shades: Dodger during the "Why Should I Worry?" number.
- Cowardly Lion: Fagin.
- Creator Cameo: The man in the pawn shop that Fagin tries to bribe a pocket watch to, only to have said watch break is a caricature of Disney executive Peter Schneider.
- Cute Kitten: Oliver, natch.
- Darker and Edgier: Well, for 1980s animation, anyway. One critic noted that Oliver and Company was "the grimiest Disney release ever." note (All things considered, it is noteworthy that, while New York City had been portrayed in animated films many times prior to 1988, it had always been depicted as either glamorous or only "nostalgically" gritty, as in An American Tail.)
- Considering the urban setting, only Dodger and Oliver being the sympathetic animals drawn to be remotely "cute", and Fagin's remarkable lack of attractiveness for a sympathetic human character, one wonders which version - this or the live action film - would be more frightening for children.
- Dark Reprise: The score during the chase scene contains a brief passage from "Once Upon A Time In New York City."
- Deadpan Snarker: Several characters have their moments, but Dodger is the most apparent.Oliver: So when are we going to eat?
Oliver: Yeah, I'm starving!
Dodger: Listen, kid, I hate to break it to you, but the "dynamic duo" is now the dynamic uno.
- Determinator: Oliver continues to pursue Dodger after getting dipped in cement, sprayed with water, and humiliated in a wide variety of ways.
- Disney Death: Oliver, following the climax.
- Dispense with the Pleasantries: When Fagin is first visited by Sykes, who he owed money to and is implied not to be able to pay it back in time; he tries to put off admitting this by talking about the weather and about Sykes' dogs. Sykes won't have it.Fagin: Oh, lovely evening, I was just saying this to your two lovely pure-bred...
Sykes: ... the money, Fagin.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: No one wants to adopt the orange cat. Like the Red-Headed Stepchild who was originally going to be Penny.
- A main character named Oliver, and a villain named Mr. Sykes. Put those names together, doesn't it sound a little familiar nowadays?
- Dog Stereotype: Several, most obviously Francis the bulldog who is pompous and British.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: "It's Francis. Fran-cis. Not Frank. Not Frankie. FRANCIS!!!"
- Dumb Muscle: Einstein
- Dude Magnet: Georgette. Just look at how many boyfriends she has had and still has.
- Ears as Hair: During "Perfect Isn't Easy", Georgette uses her ears as if they were hair, such as when she wakes up her ears look how they would when a woman has bed hair, and when she rolls a curler down her ear making it curled, among other things in the song.
- The '80s: It's pretty obvious to tell this film came out in the 80's and takes place in the 80's. Most notable evidence includes the way people dress, the style of Rita's hair, and of course, the songs. This does make the film seem very dated, which is likely one of the reasons why Disney (who's known for making timeless films) did not release this film on video until after its 1996 reissue.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The "macabre sense of humour" variety is hinted at with Roscoe.Dodger: Roscoe, is this us losing our sense of humor?
Roscoe: Nah, I ain't lost my sense of humor...
(Roscoe kicks a television at the wall, breaking a few things and sending sparks flying.)
Roscoe: See? I find that funny!(chuckles maliciously)
Sykes: Now don't cry, little girl. They only eat when I tell them to. (chuckles sinsiterly)
- For being one of the most serious and realistic Disney Villains, Sykes also does shows a sick and twisted sense of humor. When he kidnaps Jenny for ransom and as he's tying the poor frightened girl to a chair, he cruelly jokes that he'll have his dogs eat her if her parents don't pay the ransom.
- Evil Plan: The plot of the movie is driven by Sykes trying to get Fagin to pay back the loan. The lengths he goes to are what make him a villain.
- Expy: Jenny was originally going to be Penny from The Rescuers and it shows. (Notice how they creatively changed one letter in her name).
- Many of the dog characters in this film seem loosely reminiscent of some of those featured in Lady and the Tramp. The similarities between Tramp and Dodger, for starters.
- The Fagin: Well, duh.
- Family of Choice: Fagan's canine posse survive aboard a derelict boat as a band of scroungers and thieves. They even extend their circle to include the kitten Oliver. When Oliver becomes stranded in the limousine, Tito insists upon a rescue: "We got to do something, man. He's family. He's blood." Since the dogs are completely different breeds and Oliver, the he in question, is a cat, Tito is clearly speaking about the strength of their bonds rather than any literal blood relationship.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Sykes and his two Doberman cronies, especially the ending where the dogs are knocked off the speeding car onto the subway tracks and electrocuted to death (you actually see Roscoe die on-screen), followed by Sykes plowing head-first into the train, killing him in a fiery blaze. After this, and Ursula's impalement in The Little Mermaid, "The villain falls to his/her doom" (frequently as the result of their own treachery) was used for many years afterwards.
- Five-Man Band:
- Fluffy Dry Cat: Current Trope Illustrator.
- Friendship Song: In the song "Good Company" Jenny sings about how her and Oliver will always be friends.
- Funny Animal: It's... complicated. The animals can understand humans, but possibly not the other way around. The animals do a lot of human poses, and Tito manages to drive a motorbike in one scene, but they stand on four legs rather than two.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Gang war! Gang war!"
- When Georgette finds Dodger in her room she thinks he's there to rape her.
- Then later, Georgette asks to have a talk with Tito... alone in her room.
- In "Perfect Isn't Easy", Georgette admits that she needed some 'minor adjustments' for her good looks. She says this while pushing up her fur collar, it momentarily resembling a certain part of female anatomy.
- Giving Them the Strip: Done by Dodger during the climactic Chase Scene when one of the Dobermans bites down on his bandanna.
- Gory Discretion Shot: We barely see Sykes getting splattered by the train, and we only hear DeSoto—one of Sykes' dobermans—getting killed.
- Gratuitous French: Dodger has street savoir-faire (expertise)
- Guile Hero: Dodger.
- High Voltage Death: Sykes' dobermans are knocked off a speeding car onto some subway tracks. One of them, named Roscoe, dies of electrocution when he falls onto an electrified subway rail. This is also a blatant case of Getting Crap Past the Radar since Roscoe's death is pretty graphic and painful. While another dog who is killed is only heard not shown, and Sykes, who dies by being crushed by a train, is only barely shown.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Sykes' crazed pursuit of the gang on the subway lines proves his undoing as he is caught completely off guard when sure enough, an actual subway train appears heading right for him.
- Homeless Pigeon Person: Fagin, but instead of pigeons he has dogs.
- Hood Hopping: Dodger eludes Oliver by jumping over cars. Oliver follows, but falls through the sunroof of one car.
- "I Am" Song: "Why Should I Worry?" for Dodger.
- "I Am Great!" Song: Georgette's first scene, "Perfect Isn't Easy", is a classic.
- I Broke a Nail: Georgette.
- I'll Kill You!:Tito: All right, Frankie, that's it! You've insulted my pride! That means death!
- Ink-Suit Actor: Billy Joel, as Dodger, in one of the first major celebrity-voice turns in a Disney movie. There's a lot of Bette Midler in Georgette as well.
- Inspired By: Some people have no idea this film has anything to do with Dickens' Oliver Twist until it's pointed out to them.
- Interspecies Friendship: Oliver the cat befriends Fagin's dogs.
- Interspecies Romance: Doesn't actually end up happening, but the birds that assist Georgette during "Perfect Isn't Easy" literally have their tongues sagging at the sight of her, which has some pretty interesting implications.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Georgette accidentally scares off the Plucky Comic Relief/Chew Toy Tito, who's been hitting on her for the whole movie, with this trope.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A number of them - Dodger and Fagin at times, as well as Georgette, near the end.
- Just A Kitten: Subverted repeatedly.
- Kick the Dog: Definitely when Sykes has his dogs beat the crap out of poor Dodger (who protects Fagin).
- Large Ham: Francis seems to be one of these.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The aforementioned picture of Scooby-Doo.
- Loan Shark: Bill Sykes. Disney makes it very clear that he's willing to kill and throws in a few possible links to the Mafia.
- Look Behind You: Dodger does this to Tito in order to pounce on him, starting a dog fight."Hey, Tito, look!"
- Lonely Rich Kid: Jenny.
- Lovable Rogue: Dodger, definitely. The other members of the gang to a lesser extent.
- Match Cut: A shot of the Manhattan skyline at night is held for a transition to the next morning.
- Oliver's shiny new collar dissolves into a star in the night sky.
- Mood Whiplash: This movie can pretty quickly go from cutesy to intense (sometimes combining the two) and from comedic to serious. Disney movies are known for Mood Whiplash, but this one takes it so far that after watching it one night you might be thinking next morning, "wow, all those scenes were really from the same movie?"
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Sykes sics his dogs on Fagin (for being unable to pay his boss back) and Dodger aggressively defends the scraggly old man from the dobermans' wrath.
- Oh Crap!: The look on Sykes' face right before he catches the train.
- Overly Long Name: Tito's full name is Ignacio Alonzo Julio Federico de Tito.
- Parental Abandonment: Jenny's parents are away on business. In the movie itself, they were mentioned by Jenny and Winston, but never appeared.
- Product Placement: The many, many billboards and logos seen in backgrounds are real brands, for authenticity's sake. The junk Jenny gets from the dogs as birthday presents even includes a GMC hubcap.
- Jenny did mention "Cocoa Krispies" in the meal she made for Oliver as well.
- Race Lift: Again, Fagin, who's not Jewish in this film.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Oliver.
- Right And Left Hand Attack Dogs: Mr. Sykes has a pair of vicious Dobermans.
- Scenery Porn: New York City in very accurate detail.
- There's also the insides of Jenny's house, Fagin's boat, and Sykes' building.
- Second Face Smoke: Sykes does it to Fagin.
- Setting Update: On Oliver Twist.
- Shout-Out: The birds that dress Georgette during "Perfect Isn't Easy" do the same thing the birds did for Cinderella during "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" (at least the ones with the animal print scarf).
- And, y'know, Tito's song. "Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work we go..."
- One of the watches that Fagin is wearing is a Mickey Mouse watch. Mickey Mouse also turned 60 the same day this movie was first released.
- During the "Good Company" montage, Oliver jumps on the carriage rider's head.
- Also, the orange cat playing the piano, and the motorcycle thumping down the steps of the subway...
- Jenny's special birthday dress looks a lot like Little Orphan Annie's iconic wear.
- Shrine to Self: Georgette.
- Shown Their Work: The Product Placement throughout the movie and Sykes' behavior as a loan shark.
- Also, the fact that Georgette is wearing hair curlers. Show poodle hair is a bitch to look after, often needing hot oil and hair curlers to make it look show perfect.
- Georgette also has a lovely set of teeth, accurate for a dog.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Einstein is the only one of the main dogs to not appear on the original VHS cover.
- Sleep Cute: Oliver curled up next to Dodger.
- Spiritual Successor: The 1996 Animated Show Adventures Of Oliver Twist also combines Dickens' novel with anthropomorphic animals and musical numbers.
- Spontaneous Choreography: With dogs.
- Stalker with a Crush: Roscoe, who suavely takes to Rita.
- Street Smart: Everyone in Fagin's gang, contrasted with Naïve Newcomer Oliver.
- Suddenly Shouting: "It may be Jenny's house, but everything from the doorknobs down IS MINE!"
- Tagalong Kid: Oliver, unless you see him as The Hero.
- Talking Animal
- Tied Up on the Phone: Winston is watching a wrestling match on TV and getting caught up in the action when the phone rings, and he swings around so hard when answering it that he gets tangled up in the cord.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Georgette, a poodle, and Tito, a chihuahua.
- You could also say that Dodger and Rita fall under this considering Rita is much taller than Dodger, and the two of them are often shipped together by fans.
- Too Dumb to Live: Sykes. Driving a car through the New York Subway tunnel is just ASKING to be killed!
- Villainous Breakdown: Sykes. While he's mainly calm throughout the movie, in the climactic car chase, he follows Fagin into the subway tunnel in his car, pulls down the gear stick so hard it breaks off, and punches his hand through his car's window to get at Jenny.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Sykes - he's a Loan Shark / mafia boss, and he is most certainly not Played for Laughs. In fact, at no point does the movie portray his occupation as child-friendly.
- Villain Song: Despite Dodger not being a villain, Why Should I Worry, coming immediately after he takes advantage of Oliver, qualifies.
- "Perfect Isn't Easy" sung by Georgette would qualify as well, as it is probably the closest thing to a villain song in the film, though she is much more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Tito and Francis are at each others' throats almost constantly, but on at least one occasion, you see Tito curled up between Francis' paws and using his jowls as a blanket. Tito also gets extremely agitated when Roscoe menaces Francis.
- We Will Meet Again: "You guys are gonna pay for this, starting with that cat."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Or rather what happened to the owners who put Oliver and his litter up for adoption? And neglected to take Oliver back to the safety of the indoors when he was the last one left? The implication seems to be that, after interest in the kittens dwindled to the point that they were being given away for free, the owners just decided to forget about him, but it's never explained in-film.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Apparently, Disney finds it easier to portray theft, breaking and entering, and attempted murder if the culprits are animals; in that respect, this movie isn't too different from The Lion King.
- Wolf Whistle: The wolf howl variation, by Georgette's enamored fans.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Or blue fur in Georgette's case. It's possible that it was dyed, but more likely it's a Hair Color Dissonance version of grey.