Oliver and Company
"Why should I worry?"
1988 Disney Animated Canon entry number 27 about talking animals, 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. 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 definitely a good guy this time. In fact, he's just some poor schmoe trying to pay off the loan shark Mr. Sykes (based on Bill Sikes), who is the Big Bad, and here a VERY 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 its 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" and "A Whole New World".
- Abhorrent Admirer: Gender reversed with Tito for Georgette. At first, anyway.
- Actor Allusion: Dodger plays the piano with his tail.
- Fagin (Dom De Luise) has one or two moments that are reminiscent of Jeremy
- Adapted Out: In some of the storybook adaptations, Georgette was completely removed.
- Animal Talk
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Georgette when it becomes clear Dodger didn't break into her room for sex.
- Artistic License Animal Care: As the picture on the Trope Page shows, NEVER feed ice cream to a cat.
- Big Applesauce
- Big Bad: Sykes.
- Big Friendly Dog: Einstein.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends with an elevated shot of Lower Manhattan.
- Bound and Gagged: 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?"
- Cats Are Mean: Subverted, if not completely inverted; Oliver the cat is one of the kindest and most innocent characters in the movie, easily more so than most if not all of the dogs, and easily more so than nearly every human character except maybe Jenny.
- Cat Stereotype: Oliver is orange, and is one of the nicest characters in the movie.
- Chase Scene: The climax.
- Cool Shades: Dodger during the "Why Should I Worry?" number.
- Cowardly Lion: Fagin.
- Cute Kitten: Oliver, natch.
- 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 a dynamic uno.
- Disney Death: Oliver, following the climax.
- Also, Dodger after a gruesome fight with the dobermans.
- 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 bulldog who is pompous and British.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: "It's Francis. FRANCIS!!!"
- Dumb Muscle: Einstein
- Dude Magnet: Georgette. Just look at how many boyfriends she has had and still has.
- Dueling Movies: With Don Bluth's The Land Before Time, which came out on the exact same day and both outshined and outgrossed Oliver. The next Disney film that went up against a Don Bluth film would win its duel.
- Actually, this outgrossed The Land Before Time domestically by $5 million ($53 million vs. $48 million). The Land Before Time had the bigger opening (due to opening in more theatres) but tailed off quickly while Oliver kept going (and had an expansion during Christmas).
- 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 humour?
Roscoe: Nah, I ain't lost my sense of humour...
(Roscoe kicks a television at the wall, breaking a few things and sending sparks flying.)
Roscoe: See? I find that funny!
- 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.)
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Sykes and his dobermans, in what might rival Scar's and Clayton's demise as Disney's most gruesome and violent final fight yet.
- Five-Man Band:
- 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.
- 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!
- Gratuitous French: Dodger has street savoire faire (expertise)
- 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, and "Perfect Isn't Easy" for Georgette.
- I Broke a Nail: Georgette.
- Inspired By: Some fans have no idea the 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.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Georgette accidentally scares off the Plucky Comic Relief/Chew Toy, 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, hard. Repeatedly.
- Kick the Dog: Definitely when Sykes has his dogs beat the crap out of poor Dodger (who protects Fagin).
- Late to the Punchline: Oliver's rescue is carried off with enough subtlety that no child would realize that Georgette anticipates rape.
- Large Ham: Francis seems to be one of these.
- Loan Shark: Bill Sykes. Disney makes it very clear that he's willing to kill and even throws in a few possible links to the Mafia.
- 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.
- 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.
- Product Placement: A Coke ad on a taxi, a USA Today plug, a Ryder truck... but to be fair, it wouldn't be New York without it.
- Jenny did mention "Cocoa Krispies" in the meal she made for Oliver as well.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Oliver.
- Right And Left Hand Attack Dogs: Mr. Sykes has a pair of vicious Dobermans.
- 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.
- 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 Naive Newcomer Oliver.
- Talking Animal
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Georgette, a poodle, and Tito, a chihuahua.
- Villainous Breakdown: Sykes. While he's mainly calm throughout the movie, in the climactic car chase, he pulls down the gear stick so hard it breaks off and punches his hand through his car's window to get at Jenny.
- Not to mention the whole driving-expensive-car-through-subway thing.
- Vile Villain Saccharine Show: Sykes
- Villain Song: Despite Dodger not being a villain; Why Should I Worry, coming immediately after he takes advantage of Oliver, qualifies.
- 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.
- We Will Meet Again: "You guys are gonna pay for this, starting with that cat."
- 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.