One of the quintessential Disney movies for me growing up was ‘Oliver and Company‘. The film is a clever twist on ‘Oliver Twist’, the famous Charles Dickens novel, and was actually one of the reasons I would eventually go on to read the novel. Recently, Disney has being going through the vault and remastering their animated films, and bringing them to blu-ray. It was only a matter of time that we got Disney’s 27th animated release on blu-ray, and it was one I’d been hoping to add to my collection for quite some time. Disney has now granted this wish, and the results are very good.
‘Oliver and Company’ follows Oliver (Joey Lawrence), an orphaned kitten on the streets of New York City, who is befriended by Dodger (Billy Joel), a carefree dog, who is also a part time thief who is owned by a crook named Fagin. Dodger takes Oliver under his wing, trying to help this kitten find his way in this crazy city. But when Oliver is adopted by a young rich girl named Jenny (Natalie Gregory), Fagin sees it as a quick way to get some fast cash. But when his plan ends up going horribly wrong, Jenny’s life gets put on the line, and it’s up to Oliver and his new friends to save her.
One of the things that always struck me about the film was not only the wonderful animation, was the music. This movie has one of my favorite Disney soundtracks, which is not conventional, but as a fan of rock n’ roll, it was great to see a film in their catalogue that grabbed that kind of music and used it to its advantage. Having artists like Billy Joel, Huey Lewis, and even Bette Midler, really brought the music to life. J. A. C. Redford, who composed the score, also does a wonderful job outside of the songs in the film. It’s just such a great sounding film, and one that I wish more people really seemed to love. Hopefully, this new blu-ray will get it some new fans.
Disney has brought ‘Oliver and Company’ to life with a newly remastered version of the film, and the results are quite good. The film is more vibrant looking than it’s ever been, really making the colors pop. The animation is more crisp than ever, and it’s amazing just how clear the film can look at this age, and just how much extra detail this brings to the film. We’re also given a more than solid 5.1 DTS-HD soundtrack that makes the music more clear than it’s ever been before. The is the best the movie has ever sounded. The special features on the disc are fairly light, which is a bit disappointing, but it’s not a dealbreaker. The main feature on the disc is a sing-a-long version of the film, which is great for little kids, or fans of the film who want to sing with the characters. There is also a very short making of feature, that is good, but it really comes off more as a promo piece than an actual making of on the film, and it’s only about six minutes in length. You then have two animated shorts, ‘Lend a Paw’ and ‘Puss Cafe’, which are quite good. Together, the two shorts last about fifteen minutes, and really, the two are the highlights of the disc. Overall, it’s a nice collection, but I would have love a full fledged making of on the film, and even a retrospective that looked back on it from the actors.
‘Oliver and Company’ is one of the smaller gems in the animated filmography of Walt Disney Animation, and one that doesn’t get enough love. Disney has put together a very nice Blu-ray disc, where the film has never looked and sounded better, but is a bit lacking in the special features department. That really doesn’t hurt the overall package though, because the film really has never looked this great or sounded this nice, which makes the purchased a must for fans of the film, or of Disney’s animated films. It’s a movie that the whole family can enjoy. The movie, and this blu-ray disc, come recommended.