This Don Bluth film tells the story of a dog named Charlie B. Barkin, who ends up getting murdered by his gangster business partner, Carface Carruthers. He ends up in Heaven, but decides to return to life and take revenge upon Carface. After he returns to life, Charlie frees a young orphan girl, Anne-Marie, from captivity at the hands of Carface. At first, Charlie exploits Anne-Marie's ability to speak to animals, but he soon comes to like the little girl and eventually undergoes a change in character.As perspective: the story of All Dogs Go to Heaven, an animated film about cute dogs, revolves around a dog who dies — and for some reason, people find this premise strange.All Dogs landed in theaters on 17 November 1989; on the same day, Disney sent out The Little Mermaid, resulting in one of the worst cases of Dueling Movies in film history. At first, The Little Mermaid was decidedly more remembered and popular, but now, All Dogs Go to Heaven is remembered for standing out among movies of the time and even today. Despite being savaged by critics and being a box office flop, the film ended up selling very well on home video and thanks to those numbers, the film received a sequel (par for the course for every animated film ever during that time) and a TV series adaptation. (As usual, Bluth had no involvment with either of those projects.)Due to their loose following of canon and their Lighter and Softer tone, fans widely consider the sequels and the series as disappointing and inferior to the original film. Only three things stay consistent with the sequels and the series: the amount of time between the second film and the series (two years), David's age (ten years old), and Charlie's age (four, in human years).
When the heavenly whippet looks in Charlie's records, his mother and father are named "Loni" and "Burt", and look like canine versions of Loni Anderson and Burt Reynolds (who were together at the time.) Loni also appears in the film as one of Charlie's "close friends".
Anne-Marie can't always fully understand some creatures if they speak in a different 'language', as she stated to Charlie when King Gator's rat-minions, who she says "talk too funny", are carrying them to him in their cages. She probably only recognizes and understands English since most animal characters are interpreted/translated in her view as being English.
As well with the horses at the race track. The dogs don't understand what the horses are saying, but the horses understand when the dogs are insulting them.
It's plausible an animal can learn another language.
Author Allusion: Don Bluth's birthday is also September 13, 1937. The idea that every human year is seven dog years is a myth - Charlie is about 25. Even though he seems older.
Ascended Meme: The Blu-Ray cover dedicates an awful lot of space to the big-lipped alligator.
Big Damn Heroes: King Gator pulls this at the end of the movie, showing up just in time to free Charlie and eat Carface.
Family Friendly Firearms: Another bout of Executive Meddling turned Carface's Tommy Gun into "a RAAAAAAAY gun!" Apparently they thought the real gun was too scary. The official story is this: Midway through production there was an incident where a man attacked a school in LA with an automatic weapon. Many children died and the studio did not want to recall the episode, so the tommy gun was changed to something out of fantasy.
Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Two-legged Charlie, a German Shepherd/Collie mix, contrasts with Itchy Itchiford, who walks on all fours because of his Dachshund anatomy.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted - Charlie and several other dogs are shown drinking mugs of beer and clearly getting drunk. Getting Charlie drunk was Carface's first phase of murdering him, as he becomes unable to suspect anything odd.
Hell of a Heaven: Heaven's nice and all, but Charlie isn't happy about staying there right yet as he misses things from his life.
The Hero Dies: Unusually, Charlie dies at the beginning of the movie, only to cheat his way back to life. He dies again at the end while saving Anne-Marie, finally doing a good deed which would actually earn him a place in Heaven. Due to his earlier stunt with the watch, when he dies this time, it is heavily implied he is going to go to Hell. He doesn't.
Second, towards the beginning, after Charlie dies, Itchy has a nightmare that Carface is strangling him, but then hears Charlie's voice telling him, "Itchy, it's okay! It's okay, little buddy! It's me, Charlie!" and wakes up to discover Charlie, alive and well, shaking him awake.
Series Continuity Error: The scene with a certain alligator violates the rules of the movie: animals can only speak to members of their own species, with Anne-Marie being the only being who can communicate with everyone. Yet the Gator and Charlie can share a cross species musical number. This only adds to the sequence being completely out of place in the film.
A horse also seems to respond to Itchy implying that it is stupid.
Not to say you can't, y'know, learn another language.
Shark Pool: Carface uses the piranha-filled version of this trope to dispose of Killer after he fails him twice. That is, until Killer mentions he has a gun.
Shopping Montage: Used to cheer the disillusioned Anne-Marie. We're not supposed to ask what the dogs were going to do with all the money otherwise.
They used it to get Charlie's casino off the ground.
Anne-Marie's outfit and hair are much like Disney's Snow White's.
If you watch the King Gator scene closely, it starts out as an homage to King Kong, including the fact that King Gator was so taken with Charlie; it turns into the trope-naming BLAM once the singing starts.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: How Carface kills off Charlie. By getting him sloppy drunk, blindfolded and lining him up to be hit by a car on a pier. It wouldn't be enough to just lead him into a busy street or drown him, he does both to be one of the few animated villains to actually kill the protagonist early on and would've won had Charlie not scammed his way out of Heaven.
Wasted Song: The credits song is nowhere to be heard on the soundtrack. And its a orchestrated jazz version of "You Can't Keep a Good Dog Down". It's quite catchy too. In fact, all of the instrumental score is arguably better than the songs, but are nowhere to be found.
The song that replaced it, "Love Survives", was a tribute to Barsi.
Wild Take: Killer springing in mid-air, his eyes bulging in and out, and screaming, after he retrieves and puts back on his glasses, when he sees Charlie and Itchy are out of prison clearly enough the second time.
Back from the Dead: Charlie, permanently at the end...at least to live out his natural life prior to his murder. Itchy's given the same offer, but declines; he lived a full life and is content to stay in Heaven.
Cats Are Mean: Red and his minions are all cats. Apparently, cats are not only mean but also The Legions of Hell. Despite appearances, it's implied that Red is not Old Scratch himself, but an Elite Mook. Charlie makes mention of "his boss" yanking his leash, which could be a reference to the dragon in the first film being Satan.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Played straight in the sequel, in which the drinks at the bar is "root beer" (which is purple for some reason).
Gonk: Oh boy, look at most of the humans in this installment. Some of them have huge noses, angular heads, awfully skinny bodies and stuff like that.
The Great Depression: The first film is set in 1939. The sequel seems to be set in more modern times, which would be fine and dandy given the lifespans of angels, but it begins with Itchy having been recently deceased. Must have been a really long timeskip somewhere in there.
Karma Houdini: Averted to Karmic Death. Two minutes after Red gets dragged to Hell, Carface shares the same fate. Itchy's words at the end of the scene poked at the saying and title of the movie.
Itchy: Well, what do you know, and I thought all dogs go to heaven.
Lighter and Softer: The sequel certainly had lighter tones to it. However, some people seem to forget that, while the original had a power-hungry crime lord for a villain, the Big Bad in the sequel is a literal demon.
Mood Whiplash: The "Easy Street" number starts out bright and cheerful, but towards the end, instantly turns into a heartwrenching Tear Jerker melody.
Big Word Shout: Carface screams, "STOOOOPPPPPPPPP!" when Timmy, under the control of Belladonna's dog whistle steals a present and goes out the dog door.
Broad Strokes: To say that the series followed the films... loosely would be an understatement.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: Belladonna describes "the other side" as an equal opportunity employer when she's trying to recruit Charlie to her side.
Heel Face Turn: Charlie's character growth could be considered this to some degree. He ultimately invokes this on Carface to turn him good so that Belladonna's plan could be stopped.
Mood Whiplash: Practically invoked in "Clean Up Your Act" in the Christmas Carol. It goes back and forth between visions of Heaven and of Hell. It works because its done by the Ghost Of Christmas Future (played by Charlie) and is showing both possible outcomes to Carface's future.
Villain Song: Belladonna, Anabelle's demonic cousin gets one in both appearences. In the first one, it's Take The Easy Way Out, which is an attempt at luring Charlie to her side and it works...for a bit. In the Christmas Special, where she's the Big Bad, she sings I Always Get Emotional At Christmas Time, a song about how much she loves ruining Christmas.