tek's rating:

All Dogs Go to Heaven (G, though it should be PG)
Don Bluth Wiki; IMDb; MGM; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 1989. I'm sure I saw it on TV sometime in the early 90s, and then didn't see it again until 2017, when I got it on DVD. By then, I didn't remember anything except that it had dogs and a little girl. So it was like watching it for the first time, which was fun. And I probably liked it more this time around than I did the first time (though I'm sure I thought it was at least okay, the first time). The movie had a theatrical sequel, a TV series, and a direct-to-video Christmas movie, none of which I've seen or have any particular interest in seeing. But the original movie is definitely good, and anyone who says otherwise can suck it.

Ahem. It takes place in 1939 New Orleans. A German shepherd named Charlie (Burt Reynolds) and a dachshund named Itchy (Dom DeLuise) make a jail break (actually, they escape from the dog pound, but it really seems like a jail break). They immediately return to a riverboat casino that is run by a bulldog named Carface, who is Charlie's business partner. Charlie's surprised to find how well business has been doing while he was away, and Carface has no desire to go back to sharing the profits with Charlie. In fact, he and his henchdog, a schnauzer named Killer, had apparently set Charlie up to go to the pound in the first place, though Charlie doesn't know that. And now that Charlie's back, Carface decides to kill him... after convincing him to give up his half of the business. Itchy overhears the plan, and tries to warn Charlie, but he's too late. The bad guys succeed in murdering Charlie, which is definitely something you don't often see in an animated kids' movie.

When Charlie gets to Heaven (because all dogs go to Heaven, even criminals like Charlie), he meets a whippet (whose name isn't given), who seems to be the dog version of St. Peter. Charlie manages to trick her, and returns to life, though while he's on his way back to Earth, we hear her say he can never come back. So that's definitely ominous. Anyway, he finds Itchy, and starts planning to get revenge on Carface. Another thing Itchy had overheard was that Carface keeps a "monster" in the basement, and Charlie's intrigued by that, so he goes to check it out. It turns out the monster is actually just a sweet, adorable little (human) orphan named Anne-Marie, whom Carface was holding against her will. For some unexplained reason, she has the ability to talk to animals. Carface has been using her to get inside information from rats (whom dogs can't understand), in order to fix the rat races that dogs bet on at the casino. Charlie "rescues" her, but really plans to use her just like Carface had done, at first getting her to talk with a horse so they could place a bet in a horse race (which is run by humans, of course). Charlie promises to buy her new clothes, and to help her find parents to adopt her, and to share their gambling winnings with the poor (like Robin Hood, sort of). But really, he uses most of their winnings on various types of gambling to open his own casino/nightclub, or whatever. Of course, this leads to Carface learning that he's still alive... and that he's the one who stole his asset, Anne-Marie. So he wants to get the girl back, and kill Charlie.

Well, I'm not sure how much else I should say. Of course Charlie begins to really care for Anne-Marie. But also there's a human couple she meets who might want to take her in. Also there's an alligator, who as soon as I heard him singing I was like, "OMG, is that Oogie Boogie?" And indeed it was the same voice actor. So that was cool. But otherwise... I don't really want to reveal any more of the plot. The ending is kind of bittersweet, which I liked. I mean, really, I liked how the movie has a lot of darkness and adult themes that are rarely seen in kids' movies. (And apparently, there's an even darker, more PG version of the movie that I haven't seen, which was never officially released.) Anyway... the animation is decent, the songs are just kind of okay (not really memorable), the humor is okay, but mostly what I like is the overall story, and the drama of it all. (And sometimes I thought the movie was redonkulous, in a really good way.) And I guess that's all I have to say.

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