There are a few things that have always bothered me about a number of animated sequels. Most of the time, the voice cast is completely different, the animation is inferior, and the music…well, is not the best. MOST of the time, all of the above is true, and certainly this is the case with All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (1996, I cannot believe this film is 21 years old).
This completely unnecessary sequel to the charming (and very scary) All Dogs Go To Heaven features an all new adventure with Charlie (now voiced by Charlie Sheen), Itchy (Dom DeLuise), and their eternal nemesis Carface (now voiced by Ernest Borgnine), who has literally made a deal with a devil cat named Red (George Hearn). To summarize: Charlie is bored stiff in Heaven, he longs for some kind of adventure or excitement. Well, he gets it when Carface steals Gabriel’s Horn (on Red’s orders), and attempts to bring it to him. Without the Horn, the gates of Heaven cannot open and no new dogs can enter. Learning the horn is somewhere in San Francisco, Charlie successfully convinces Annabelle (head angel/dog in Heaven) to let him and Itchy go to retrieve the horn. Meanwhile, Carface ends up working more closely with Red, there’s a runaway human boy named David in the mix, etc. and so on (sorry I’m not good with brief summaries).
There is ONE bright spot in this piece of mediocrity though, and that’s the villain’s song “It Feels so Good to be Bad!” Red (strongly implied to be the very pet of the devil himself) is performed by George Hearn, a legendary performer on the Broadway stage. He won acclaim as Sweeney Todd, starred as Max in the original Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard, and he also performed as the Wizard in Wicked from 2004 to 2005.
You can hear his Broadway experience in “It Feels So Good to Be Bad!” In fact, the whole song feels like it was created with Broadway in mind. At the start, Carface is jabbering on about how he and Red can use the horn to open any bank or safe they please, but Red has much grander things in mind (up until this point he has been masquerding as an elderly dog). He wants Carface to think of the big picture, and drags him into a corner of Hell (that’s what it looks like anyways) to explain. Hearn’s vocal range is impressive, and I love the way he banters with and torments Carface for bungling the theft in the first place. There is a nice allusion to Hearn’s time as Sweeney Todd when Red grabs a straight razor blade and gives Carface a “shave” (taking off all his fur in the process).
Oh Carface…he’s so stupid, and that’s one of the details that bug a lot of people who watched the original. In THAT version, Carface was ruthless, conniving, downright bloodthirsty!! Here, he’s noticeably downgraded to slightly better than an imbecile. One could make the argument that spending time in Heaven erased at least some of his viciousness (despite any arguments he might make to the contrary). Another factor could be that, in finding himself confronted with TRUE evil, something snaps in Carface’s brain.
I just love listening to this song. The rest of the film is meh, not so good, but for this scene at least, Red is a villain par excellence.
I hope you enjoy this great song (it really is the best part of the film).
All Dogs Go to Heaven “You Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” (1989)
All Dogs Go to Heaven “Let Me Be Surprised” (1989)
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