Aug 19, 2014

Review: All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (1996)

All Dogs Go to Heaven is one of those perfect "not really for kids movies." With a sombre colour palette, some frightening imagery as well as some mature subject matter, it's in no way the ideal movie to introduce your four year-old to movies for the first time. As I said in my review for All Dogs Go to Heaven, I think it's still a great learning tool for younger movie watchers to grow some backbone. You can't grow up if you're only fed jellybeans. You need some red meat after all.

MGM took over production duties from the original and it's pretty clear that they aimed to make All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 a little more friendly for the family movie market. I don't think it's as neutered as people make it out to be, but its edge in comparison to Bluth's entry has been considerably softened. The biggest problem with All Dogs Go to Heaven is that it's so generic. There are some other problems too of course but I guess that's the best way it can be summed up.


Genre: animation, adventure, family
Directed by: Larry Leker, Paul Sabella
Produced by: Jonathan Dern, Paul Sabella, Kelly Ward, etc.
Written by: Arne Olsen, Kelly Ward, Mark Young
Music by: Mark Watters
Running time: 82 minutes
Production company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United International Pictures, Chapel Distribution, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: $8,620,678 (North America)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Dom DeLuise, Sheena Easton, Adam Wylie, George Hearn, Bebe Neuwirth, Ernest Borgnine, Wallace Shawn, Hamilton Camp, Dan Castellaneta, Pat Corley, Jim Cummings, Bobby Di Cicco, Annette Helde, Marabina Jaimes, Tony Jay, Maurice LaMarche, Steve Mackall, Kevin Michael Richardson


Charlie B. Barkin (Charlie Sheen) has been in heaven for 56 years (is that dog years?). Itchy Itchiford (Dom DeLuise) finally arrives and is super excited about the prospect of living in heaven. Charlie explains how boring it really is and how he misses being on earth. Meanwhile, the devious Carface (Ernest Borgnine) successfully steals Gabriel's Horn which is used to open the gates of heaven for new arrivals. Carface opens the gates and falls his way back on to Earth. Charlie is sent along with his sidekick to retrieve the Horn so it doesn't fall into the wrong hands since it is able to open any door at all.


I found Carface to be hilarious in the original Dogs but here he's just become a clumsy source of comedic relief. From a sophisticated criminal mind, he's now just a fat, accident-prone idiot now which disappointed me big time. Ernest Borgnine deserves better! I suppose the real crime of ADGtH2 is what Charlie has become. With Burt Reynolds doing the voice for Charlie originally, he was sly, street smart and above all, tough. Charlie Sheen can be good at times but he's completely changed the character for the worse. I'd describe Charlie as more weasley in this sequel than tough which isn't the same thing.

Dom DeLuise is the only voice actor to return from the first movie which is pretty sad. The best voice acting of ADGtH2 is for sure George Hearn as the cat devil Red. The scenes with his character are the ones that come the closest to replicating the kind of dark atmosphere that was created in the first Dogs. In the end though it doesn't get even close and I honestly don't think that it was ever the intention in the first place.

It honestly seems like the makers of ADGtH2 didn't even see the first movie at all. I mean how on earth were Charlie and Carface hanging out and being all buddy buddy in the beginning? Carface tried to kill Charlie twice in the last movie! Once successfully even! This guy is your mortal enemy and suddenly you're willing to stupidly trust him? It doesn't make any sense at all. (Spoilers) The other thing that bothered me is pretty much everything to do with Gabriel's Horn. We're told that it can open any door on earth, so it can be used to rob banks and stuff like that. That would appear to be the plan until Red uses it to somehow summon all the dogs in heaven into his personal dog Alcatraz. But then Charlie can blow into it, make all the dogs go back to heaven and Red be sucked down into hell like the devil he is? The Horn has no set capability other than to do whatever the scriptwriters want to it to do. I know that this is a kid's movie but please, a bit of logic isn't too much to ask here about a key item. (End Spoilers)

The songs in this sequel are strangely better if you ask me. They're just as forgettable though. Disney movies are clearly the inspiration here but in no way do the songs come close to matching what comes out of the Mouse House. "I Will Always Be With You" in particular is seriously up there in cheesiness.

With a half-cooked story, uneven animation which was outsourced in a rush to other companies and a serious case of neutering, All Dogs Go to Heaven limps forward in the attempt to follow in its original's footsteps. The voice acting is a big step down and the humour is non-existent. Although Dogs 2 isn't an awful movie, it's just a throwaway in the big sea of family-minded animation movies.



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