Oliver and Company

Bomb Rating: 

This film is a rerelease, a subtle form of advertising by Disney. After all the little kiddies have spent mom and dad's money to go to the theater, they'll know just which movie they want to buy when Disney releases the thing on videotape (probably at precisely the time the animation high begins to wear off of the kids). It's kind of like smoking a Disney cigarette -- just when those three and four-year-olds begin shaking and shivering from lack of Disney, that videotape of "Oliver and Company" will mysteriously appear on store shelves.

What other lessons can we glean from this retelling of Dickens' "Oliver Twist"? Little Oliver the cat (voice of Joey Lawrence) is taken in by a poor band of dogs, including Dodger (Billy Joel) and Tito (Cheech Marin). When the gang wanders uptown, Oliver is taken in by a rich little girl and discovers that wealth beats poverty.

Clearly, Disney is presenting the bourgeoisie as a superior alternative to the proletariat despite the fact that the bourgeoisie exploits the proletariat by creating surplus value from the product of the proletariat's labor. As a symbol of revolution, Oliver is pacified in the face of luxury and wealth, thereby quashing the inevitable revolution and preventing natural human progress, which, when you think about it, is kind of heavy for a kids' movie.

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