The Good: Fun music, Voice acting is expressive
The Bad: Lower animation quality, Unmemorable characters, Predictable plot progression, Really racist song . . .
The Basics: The Aristocats is a very basic adventure involving cats who survive an assassination attempt upon them by a jealous butler!
Today, my wife and I spent the day in and she wanted to watch animated movies. Given how we have a new cat, she chose The Aristocats. I was somewhat surprised by her choice; we’re members of the Disney movie club and The Aristocats came up a few months ago in the rotation and she said she didn’t want it. After watching The Aristocats, I understand it now.
The Aristocats is a classic Disney animated film that is a very simple adventure story, that features animals surviving an assassination attempt and trying to get home. It is pretty much the archetypal fable and it offers remarkably little to viewers, especially now. And in one of the jazz songs – for being advertized as a jazz adventure, there is remarkably little of it in the music and what there is is reused for two numbers! – there is some incredibly dated and racist (anti-Chinese) bits.
In Paris, 1910, the Countess brings her lawyer to her estate to plan her will. There, her faithful servant, Edgar, overhears their conversation and learns that the Countess will leave everything to her prized cats. Jealous, Edgar is furious that he will inherit the leftovers from her millions only after the last cat dies. He plans to dispose of the cats so that way when the Countess dies, he can inherit everything sooner. To that end, he makes up a broth with sleeping pills, nutmeg, and other things that are poisonous to cats and serves it to the four cats – Duchess, Berlioze, Toulouse, and Marie.
On his way to disposing of the cats, Edgar runs afoul of two dogs, who knock the basket with the cats off his motorcycle. The cats meet up with J. Thomas O’Malley, an alley cat, who charms Duchess and helps the cats get back to their home. With the help of a crafty mouse, who realized that Edgar is the villain, the animals send the greedy butler packing!
The Aristocats includes a very basic romance story as the journey home to Paris provides Tom O’Malley with a lot of time to impress Duchess with how resourceful he is. This is a pretty classic relationship story about two people from different social classes and the fact that they are both cats is almost incidental (save for the moments when Tom jumps on the hoods of cars to try to get them to stop for him, Duchess, and the kids). That said, there is nothing truly distinctive about Duchess (stereotypical rich, oblivious woman of privilege) or Tom (stereotypical street urchin who knows something the rich woman needs to know to survive).
As for the voice performances, The Aristocats is fine. Eva Gabor, George Lindsay, and Phil Harris are all good. The Aristocats has very expressive vocal performances that match well the animation. That said, The Aristocats has very scratchy animation, as far as lines and the sense of movement. It is not bad, but it is clearly dated.
The Aristocats is not incredible in any way, not bad (save the exceptionally racist moment), but not memorable or worth adding to one’s permanent collection.
For other Disney animated films, please visit my reviews of:
Toy Story 3
A Christmas Carol
The Princess And The Frog
Lilo & Stitch
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
The Lion King
Beauty And The Beast
The Little Mermaid
Lady And The Tramp
The Sword In The Stone
Check out how this movie stacks up against other movies I have reviewed, visit my Movie Review Index Page for a listing from best to worst!
© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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