NOSTALGIA LANE MOVIE REVIEW: “All Dogs Go to Heaven” is voiced by Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights, Evening Shade [TV series]), Dom DeLuise (The Twelve Chairs , Blazing Saddles), Judith Barsi (The Land Before Time, Jaws: The Revenge), Melba Moore (The Fighting Temptations, Melba [TV series]), Charles Nelson Reilly (The First of May, The Addams Family [1992 TV series]), Vic Tayback (Alice [TV series], Papillon), and Ken Page (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dreamgirls). It was directed by Don Bluth (Thumbelina, Anastasia), Gary Goldman (A Troll in Central Park, Titan A.E.), and Dan Kuenster (Rock-A-Doodle, Tamagotchi Video Adventures [Video Short]), while the screenplay was written by David N. Weiss (Shrek 2, The Smurfs ). After being murdered by a crime boss, a mutt named Charlie (Reynolds) comes back from the dead to exact revenge. His first move? Kidnapping a girl who was being held captive by the boss in order to produce him gambling profits.
Alright, so I have a confession to make: I did not grow up watching “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” I may have seen it once or twice long ago, but actual scenes from the flick are not engrained in my memory like the other movies found in this marathon. Why watch it if it doesn’t bring nostalgia? Because I was curious as to what it was. Sure, I could’ve made it a standalone review, but since it’s for kids and is found in the VHS cabinet at my home, I thought “why not?” I had no clue what I was getting into, which probably made the analyzation of this feature a bit more fair. After seeing it, I was surprised at the amount of adult content sprinkled throughout the story. I mean, this is a far cry from “Frozen” or “Cars 3.” A film about a dog who was murdered by a psycho mob boss, only to come back from the dead to get revenge by kidnapping the boss’ orphan human girl who can speak to animals and win games that involves gambling doesn’t necessarily scream kid’s movie. Throughout the course of the story, none of the characters had redemptive purposes, with the only good guy being the girl. Charlie talked of using the girl to win big, lying to her about giving to the poor and finding her a family. It’s as if she was a prostitute and he a pimp, without the whole “lending her” ordeal. The 80s seemed to be a different time of animation, especially when it came to other companies besides Disney. I liked how dirty this picture was, even though it was weird having humanistic personalities resonating in dogs (and when I say “dirty,” I don’t mean foul-mouthed or raunchy). Charlie being an anti-hero was a good approach, and led to a very emotional ending in the process. Heck, it was hard not to feel sad when the girl was present on the screen most of the time. Her situation in the story was terrible, though she was a nice person. Breaking down the movie in general, the animation was pretty good. If you are into the style of 80s and 90s 2D animation that’s short of Disney excellence, then you’ll enjoy looking at this. I’ve found the style of animated movies like these to be dark, often displaying bad times better than most kids’ films do now. Watching this reminded me of the animation found in “The Pagemaster,” where it is crude, yet terrifying. Another example can be brought up from the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies of the time. Seeing this on a VHS tape didn’t bring the best of video quality, but at least it had a throwback appeal. The voice acting contributed to the characters fit the roles. Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise were entertaining and were probably the best fit for these dogs at the time. Judith Barsi had a sweet voice for the girl and certainly added that pity value to her. Everyone did a solid job. As for the story, that’s where problems arise. It’s an original concept for what it is, though it doesn’t have as much of an appeal as other family flicks I have seen. There are slow parts scattered throughout the plot, as well as music numbers that shouldn’t be there. The story doesn’t beg a musical genre, and the voice actors aren’t much of singers (Reynolds was rather terrible). Every time a song played, I had to zone out for a few minutes until the story started back up again. None of them were memorable or catchy, and played out awkwardly as if they were forced into the movie because the studio wanted it. I could’ve done without them, and the story could’ve flowed a bit smoother. In its entirety, I thought the plot was entertaining if not spectacular. Towards the end, things got a bit too hokey and unrealistic for me, but the last moments themselves were nice. I can see a split opinion for this picture, however I don’t see many thinking it’s fantastic. Online, it hasn’t gotten the best ratings; they were definitely too low for this movie’s own good. It’s not at all how I remembered or thought it was going to be, and I liked the adult atmosphere to it. I wouldn’t consider it to be really good, but it’s something fresh to watch. FINAL SCORE: 69%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: