Making the Grades
In this animated movie, heaven is a dog's life with many peaceful pooches sitting on clouds, practicing their howls in all canine choirs. Everyone is happy, except for Charlie (voiced by Charlie Sheen) who finds heaven just doesn't stack up to the excitement of being a street mutt. Meanwhile, bad dog Carface (voiced by Ernest Borgnine) has come to heaven with different plans, as he intends to steal Gabriel's horn and deliver it to Red (voiced by George Hearn), the devil himself. The horn is the key to the pearly gates, and Red wants control of heaven's assets.
As the devil, Red is the ultimate enemy in this picture. Portrayed as a cat who has the abilities to disguise himself, his favorite mock is an elderly fortune-telling dog, who's pleasant disposition soon traps Charlie with a "too good to be true" offer. Charlie's companion Itchy (voiced by Dom DeLuise) warns Charlie to reconsider before making a deal with Red, but Charlie is too blinded by his own desires to see the trap he is falling into as he makes a pact with the devil.
This movie is especially valuable to parents looking for a teaching tool that illustrates how we can be fooled by deceptive offers that require a much greater payment over the long term. By watching it with your children, you can help them see how the two dogs make decisions that lead them further away from their original goal, and you can also support your youngest children through some of the scarier moments, especially toward the end as Satan becomes more powerful.
The original All Dogs was done in the late 1980's by Disney defector Don Bluth. Although Bluth's animation company ran creative circles around this edition's farmed out art with animation done in Taiwan, Thailand, Ireland, England, Australia, Denmark and France, the story in this version holds a far superior message for children. With a quality soundtrack produced by a symphony orchestra and some catchy songs, this little movie has something worth howling about.