All Dogs Go To Heaven (Blu-ray)
By the time ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN was released in 1989, I was past the cartoon stage of my childhood and so I never sat down to watch this animated feature until this Blu-ray. After watching it, I’m left with one burning question; who was this movie made for? It’s about a gangster (albeit in dog form) that gets framed and then murdered by his gangster partner (after the partner gets him drunk), only to return to earth to exact revenge. Oh, and they kidnap a little orphan girl and use her ability to speak to animals to fix the casino that they run, which, I should point out, was started on stolen money. So again, who, exactly, is the target audience for ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN?
I guess they justify it by having the dogs sing some horrible songs throughout the film, but the entire film’s tone is off. This exact storyline was the basis for several of the old film noir gangster movies and any second I expected James Cagney to bust out with a Tommy gun and start mowing people down. We even had a gratuitous scene where Charley (our hero looking for revenge) daydreams about being sent to hell, complete with a giant dragon demon and fire erupting all around. Why would that be included in a movie geared towards kids? I was also confused by the music in the film, which was really more of a simple poem put to a simple beat. I’m assuming they oversimplified the songs so Burt Reynolds could sing them, but it probably would have been better to cut them entirely.
If I seem upset at this, it’s not because I want to protect our youth from the adult themes in this movie. I think we all know by now that today’s kids are exposed to much worse at very young ages. The reason I’m upset at it is because it ruined what was actually a decent film. If they had cleaned it up a little bit and given Charley more redeeming qualities earlier on in the film, this would be a movie I’d want to show my kids some day. And it’s not like they had to do a lot to make it better; a few edits here and there and this would be fine. I will say that I liked the homage to Disney that included the Snow White-esque outfit the little girl wore and the Mickey watch that floated by when Charley was in heaven.
ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN is a bit of an anomaly since we’re watching cute cartoon dogs as they deal with very adult issues. So the end result is a simple animated film that only teenagers and adults can understand, but only kids would enjoy. I love animated dogs as much as the next guy, but ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN is a disappointing effort that doesn’t really have an audience.
Video (1080p, 1.85:1): ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN was made in 1989 and even by those standards the film quality was poor. The Blu-ray cleans it up for the most part, but I wouldn’t say it makes that much of a difference.
Audio (2.0 DTS-HD): The audio was fine.