If you think all the various adaptations (even the musical Oliver!) of Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist are too bleak for your tot, then you haven’t seen this Disney animated twist of the tale, featuring cats and dogs. ‘Inspired by’ rather than based on the classic novel (only four original characters remain – Fagin, Oliver, Sykes and the Artful Dodger), it’s the story of a little homeless kitten named Oliver (Lawrence) roaming the mean streets of New York, who is taken in by Dodger (Joel, who surprisingly only gets to sing one song), a mutt who is a member of a gang of dogs who steal for thoroughly nasty human Fagin (DeLuise). But when Oliver is taken in by a rich little girl named Jenny, Fagin and Sykes (an even worse chap, to whom Fagin owes money, voiced by Robert Loggia) decide to grab Oliver back so Jenny will come looking for him and they’ll be able to kidnap her for a large ransom.
The first Disney animated movie to extensively use computer-generated imagery, this doesn’t look as impressive as their later work (Beauty and the Beast etc) but is cute and colourful enough to satisfy younger viewers (although the message from the dogs that it’s okay to steal so long as it’s for a good reason may disturb some grown-ups).
Is Oliver And Company suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Sykes is quite scary for younger viewers, as are his Doberman henchmen.