All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Adventure, Animated Musical, Heaven-Can-Wait Fantasies  |   Release Date - Nov 17, 1989 (USA)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Animated films by director Don Bluth tend to be somewhat frustrating. There's always so much in them that is right that the inevitable flaws are especially galling -- particularly because Bluth and his crew seem to do the hardest things so well and slip up in seemingly easier areas. All Dogs Go to Heaven is one of Bluth's weaker efforts, but it does feature some exceptional animation. Bluth and his animators have created an avalanche of color, a full rendering of the palette that is often gorgeous. And the character animation itself is very good -- precise, detailed, and evocative. Also worthy of praise is Charles Strouse's score; while not a classic, it is extremely catchy. "Let's Make Music Together" is particularly good and is presented in a faux-Esther Williams style that is entirely winning. Unfortunately, these pluses are offset by an unruly and predictable script and characters that range from unpleasant to uninteresting. The dialogue is weak, with strained humor (e.g. "Some of the poorest people I know are as broke as the Ten Commandments."). And, as is often the case with Bluth, the film is too deliberately paced -- even the action sequences come across as slightly by the book rather than spontaneous. Although children will find Dogs reasonably entertaining, adults may find themselves checking their watches a lot.