"Why should I worry?Disney Animated Canon entry number 27 released in 1988, about talking animals, very loosely based on Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. 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. 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 nauseam.
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."
Oliver & Company contains examples of:
- Abandoned Pet In A Box: The film opens with a box full of kittens being sold on a Manhattan sidewalk. All the kittens are sold except for one - our hero, Oliver - who is callously left in the box on the rain.
- Abhorrent Admirer:
- Age Lift: The animal characters' ages don't quite match their human versions from the original story. While Oliver is still a child, Dodger has been aged up into an adult, as have the rest of Fagin's gang. Jenny, the loose equivalent of Mr. Brownlow, is also a little girl instead of a middle-aged man.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has "Oliver" by Chami Satonaka as its theme song.
- Animal Talk: The animals can talk amongst themselves.
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Though it's not outright stated what Georgette thinks Dodger's going to do to her when he breaks into her room, she is quite offended when he says he isn't after her.Georgette: You're not? Well, WHY not?! What's the problem, Spot? Not good enough for you?
- The Artful Dodger: Being based on the original Artful Dodger himself, Dodger certainly counts. He's a very street-smart dog raised on the streets.
- Artistic License – Animal Care: As the picture on the Trope Page shows, NEVER feed ice cream to a cat. But then, plenty of children Jenny's age feed their pets human luxuries, unaware of the risks.
- Also, Jenny feeds Cocoa Krispies to Oliver in one scene. Chocolate is even more toxic to cats then it is to dogs
- 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, with varying levels of "adorable". Oliver, on the other hand, is Badass Adorable with the emphasis on "adorable." The "badass" part comes from his occasional awesome moments.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.
- Beauty Is Best: Georgette the show poodle is totally absorbed in her appearance, justified in that she can rightfully boast being "six-time Grand National Champion!" As part of the rescue party aiming to recover Jenny from The Villain's clutches, she's mostly The Load.
- Big Applesauce
- Big Bad: Sykes.
- Big, Friendly Dog: Einstein.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends with an elevated shot of Lower Manhattan. This is especially heartwarming post-9/11 as the Twin Towers are seen still standing proud and tall among the skyline.
- Bowdlerize: Only the bad guys die in this film, since the character of Nancy is removed.
- Bound and Gagged: Well, just bound: Sykes makes sure Jenny can't escape by tying her wrists behind a chair and having his dogs surround her.
- The Cameo:
- Canines Primary, Felines Secondary: The main protagonist is a kitten, but every other animal character in the main cast is a dog.
- Cars Without Tires Are Trains: This happened to the villain's limousine in the climax as Sykes chases Fagin's scooter into the subway. Roscoe and De Soto fall off the car in the struggle and land on the subway's third rail, electrocuting them. Sykes' car eventually drives straight into the path of an oncoming train, killing him and throwing him and his car into the East River.
- A Cat in a Gang of Dogs: Oliver is the only cat of the group, all the rest are dogs.
- 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: The ENTIRE MOVIE is loaded with conspicuous CG animation; New York City's traffic, Sykes's car, Fagin's cart, Georgette's stairs, 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: During the subway chase scene, as Oliver dives into Sykes's car to save Jenny, an instrumental version of the passage "Don't be scarred, they're getting your place prepared, where you wanna be" from "Once Upon a Time in New York City" can be heard.
- Deadpan Snarker: Several characters have their moments, but Dodger is the most apparent.Oliver: So when are we gonna 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:
- 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.
- Dog Stereotype: Several, most obviously Francis the English Bulldog who is pompous and British.
- Dub Name Change: In the Icelandic dub, some of the names of the supporting cast were changed. Dodger was named Hrappur, Rita was named Beta, Georgette was named Súsanna, Roscoe and De Soto were named Rosti og Sóti, and Winston was named Jónas.
- 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. And following 9/11, seeing the Twin Towers in this movie reminds us of what New York City was like before that tragic day.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor:
Sykes: Now don't cry, little girl. They only eat when I tell them to. (chuckles sinisterly)
- The "macabre sense of humor" variety is hinted at with Roscoe.Dodger: Roscoe, 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)
- 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.
- The "macabre sense of humor" variety is hinted at with Roscoe.
- 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: This film's characters draw rather noticeably from earlier entries in the Canon:
- Jenny was originally going to be Penny from The Rescuers and it showsnote .
- 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. Whether intentional or not, when Lady is stuck in the pound we see a Chihuahua with fluff on his head like Tito and an English Bulldog that Francis resembles.
- Several characters, despite different names and characterisations, take on similar roles as those of the original Oliver Twist novel. Jenny roughly takes the same role Mr Brownlow did as Oliver's final and loving guardian, while Georgette is to some degree a redeemed version of Noah Claypole, a jealous fellow apprentice of Oliver's first residence.
- Family of Choice: Fagin'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' 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!"
- During the song "Why Should I Worry", Two female chorus dogs briefly give Dodger a sexy look while shaking their butts in a "suggestive" manner.
- Practically a small-scale Running Gag with Georgette:
- When Georgette finds Dodger in her room, she panics, then gets angry when he says "It's not you I'm after." Child viewers might assume she thinks he wants to kidnap her, but to adult viewers it's obvious that she thinks he's there to rape her.
- Later, Georgette asks to have a talk with Tito... alone in her room. ...about giving him a bath and new wardrobe. Though Tito was obviously expecting something else.
- 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.
- Roscoe, the other doberman, is a different story. Enjoy watching a grown dog getting electrocuted and whining as he dies, kids!
- Most of the Dobermans' No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Dodge also happens just off-camera.
- Gratuitous French: Dodger has street savoir-faire (expertise)
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Played for laughs when the dogs were rough-housing.Rita: Oh what a bunch of overgrown- (Tito gets thrown at her head)
- 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 third 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 to be 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:
- Insistent Terminology: As he will constantly remind you, Francis goes by his real name. Not Frank or Frankie... Francis.
- 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.
- Lives in a Van: Fagin lives in a beached and derelict trawler underneath a pier beside the Hudson River. It doesn't help that a sign before we first see it says the area is condemned by the Port Authority of NY and NJ. The boat has no plumbing, no heat, and gets electricity by mooching from a dockside light pole. Fagin and his canine cohorts scrounge for a living.
- 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, especially considering the Twin Towers are in the shot as well.
- 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?"
- New York Is Only Manhattan: The film takes place almost exclusively in Manhattan; the climax occurs on the Manhattan Bridge. Further, the opening scene is a slow pan of western Manhattan, and the closing scene is a zoom-out on Times Square. It does include the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center as they no longer exist in real life due to 9/11.
- 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.
- Psycho Poodle: Georgette the show poodle greets the new kitten Oliver with condescension, finishing with an outright screech: "It may be Jenny's house, but everything from the doorknobs down IS MINE!" She dials back her Alpha Bitchiness when she must team up with Fagin's dogs to rescue Jenny and Oliver from the villain, but dials it back up at the conclusion, causing Tito, her Stalker with a Crush, to flee from her in a panic.
- Race Lift: Again, Fagin, who's never said to be Jewish in this film.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Oliver.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Mr. Sykes has a pair of vicious Dobermans.
- Scenery Porn:
- The New York skyline was recreated in perfect detail, as was the streets, subways and bridges, including the now former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Dodger's travel during the song "Why Should I Worry" goes through an accurate map of the city.
- There's also the insides of Jenny's house, Fagin's boat, and Sykes' building.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After finally winning Georgette's affections, Tito finds himself completely at her mercy when she tries to doll him up into an overly proper, goody-two-shoes house dog; after about ten minutes alone with her, he immediately bails.
- Second Face Smoke: Sykes does it to Fagin.
- Setting Update: On Oliver Twist.
- 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's 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!: Georgette's voice tends to spike unexpectedly. The best example is when she first meets Oliver."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: Level 3 or Level 6 on the Sliding Scale of Animal Communication. It is unknown whether or not the humans can understand the pets talking, but most of the time it's because the animals don't usually talk at all when the humans are around.
- 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, due to their romantic chemistry.
- Triumphant Reprise: "Once Upon a Time in New York City" has two, and they're both instrumental. The first is during the Sleep Cute scene in which Oliver cuddles with Dodger, and the other is over the ending credits, as the end title track.
- 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."
- Wet Cement Gag: Oliver and Dodger walk across wet cement after stealing hot dogs.
- 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.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Sykes tells Fagin he's proud of him for starting to think big (demanding a ransom for someone's beloved pet), you can see in Fagin's look that he takes this as anything but a compliment.