All Dogs Go to Heaven
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are some cartoonish descriptions of death and intense scenes that may disturb sensitive children. The main character, Charlie, goes to Hell in one scene that is revealed to be a dream, and main characters, including Charlie and his buddy Itchy, die. The villain is eventually taken away and presumably eaten by a giant crocodile. Also, orphan girl Anne-Marie is threatened with death in a river of fire. Additionally, the film contains references to gambling, stealing, and smoking.
What's the story?
Charlie B. Barkin (voiced by Burt Reynolds) and his pal Itchy (Dom DeLuise) break out of prison after being framed by Charlie's partner Carface. When Charlie tries to reclaim his share of the casino they ran, Carface has him killed. Charlie goes to Heaven, which he finds way too dull. He returns to Earth by stealing his life span watch. Charlie rebuilds his empire with the help of Itchy and Anne-Marie, an orphan girl who can talk to animals. Charlie uses her to get horse-racing information while emptily promising to help her find new parents.
Is it any good?
There are many odd segments in ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN that seem to complicate, not extend, the plot. But this doesn't seem to bother younger viewers, who enjoy having their shorter attention spans tweaked. The key of the film is its uplifting message that people (and dogs) can always follow through on their word and be redeemed. Despite his selfish deeds, Charlie eventually does the right thing, and earns back his place in heaven, while Carface is carted off, presumably to be eaten by a crocodile.
Many don't seem to mind the film's darkness, which is set in an urban world of poverty that couldn't contrast more with the squeaky-clean suburban normality of most kids' movies. It helps that the characters and backgrounds are drawn with entrancing style, and that the story isn't as grim as the setting might suggest. But more sensitive children may be disturbed by the depiction of death and violence.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about forgiveness and earning trust.
Families may also want to discuss why it's important to keep your word, as Charlie eventually did in the film. Why did Charlie change his ways? Why is it important to forgive people who earn your trust back?
Also, how could Anne-Marie's friends make her feel more loved and wanted? How do we make our friends feel loved every day?