The Aristocats
Disney / Buena Vista (1970)
Animation, Family, Musical, Romance
In Collection
#476
6*
Seen ItYes
(6/13/2011)
786936820652
IMDB   7.1
78 mins USA / English
BLU-RAY  Region 1   UR
Phil Harris Thomas O'Malley
Eva Gabor Duchess
Liz English Marie
Gary Dubin Toulouse
Dean Clark Berlioz
Sterling Holloway Roquefort the Mouse
Roddy Maude-Roxby Edgar, the Butler
Scatman Crothers Scat Cat
Paul Winchell Chinese Cat
Lord Tim Hudson English Cat
Vito Scotti Italian Cat
Thurl Ravenscroft Russian Cat
Hermione Baddeley Madame Adelaide Bonfamille
Nancy Kulp Frou-Frou the Carriage-Horse
Pat Buttram Napoleon
George Lindsey Lafayette
Phil Harris J. Thomas O'Malley
Gary Dubin Toulouse the Orange Kitten
Director
Wolfgang Reitherman
Producer Winston Hibler
Wolfgang Reitherman
Writer Ken Anderson
Larry Clemmons
Eric Cleworth
Musician George Bruns


The Aristocats was the first Disney Studios animated feature to be produced after Walt Disney 's death. A wealthy woman leaves her vast fortune to her four cats: the well-bred Duchess and her kittens Berlioz, Toulouse and Marie. Jealous butler Edgar, eager to get his mitts on the cats' legacy, abandons the felines in the French countryside. The four lost kitties are aided in their efforts to return home by the raffish country pussycats Thomas O'Malley and Scat Cat. In keeping with a tradition launched by The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats is top-heavy with celebrity voices, including Phil Harris , Eva Gabor , Scatman Crothers , Hermione Baddeley and the ineluctable Sterling Holloway . Assembled by the "nine old men" then in charge of animation, The Aristocats was a success, paving the way for future "post-Walt" cartoon features. — Hal Erickson
Edition Details
Edition Disney Gold Classic Collection
Distributor Walt Disney Video
Chapters 20
Release Date 8/21/2012
Packaging HD Case
Screen Ratio 1.66:1
Subtitles English; French; Spanish
Audio Tracks DTS HD-MA
Layers Single Side, Dual Layer
No. of Discs/Tapes 1
Personal Details
Purchase Date 8/21/2012
Owner Thomas Eisenmann
Store Amazon
Purchase Price $17.99
Condition Excellent
Links IMDB
Movie Collector Core
TheMovieDb.org
Amazon.com
Hi-Def Digest Reviewed

Features
Anamophic
The Lost Open
"Oui Oui Marie" Music Video
Classic Deleted Song: "She Never Felt Alone"
The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats Of Disney Songs
The Great Cat Family (Excerpt)
Classic Bonus Short: Bath Day
Play Movie With On-Screen Lyrics
Disney Virtual Kitten: Adopt Your Own Virtual Kitty. The More You Care For It, The More Hearts You Earn
Virtual Kitten DVD Rom
The Aristocats Fun With Language Game
The Aristocats Scrapbook
User Defined
Anamophic Yes
Reviewed Hi-Def Digest Reviewed
Bit Rate 1509 KB
Digital UV Not eligable
Digital Copy Claimed No
VUDU Purchase Price 0
Disk Type BLU-RAY
VUDU Export No

High-Def Review
The Aristocats (Blu-ray)
Disney/Buena Vista / 1970 / 78 Minutes / Rated G
Street Date: August 21, 2012

Overall Grade
Bottom Line Recommended
Reviewed by Aaron Peck
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Along with a slew of other lower priority animated titles, Disney saw fit to release 'The Aristocats' in a special edition Blu-ray that doesn't even coincide with a well-rounded anniversary. It's another movie, like 'The Rescuers' (which was also just released) that doesn't really contain any really memorable Disney characters. You don't see anyone strutting around Disneyland in a Thomas O'Malley cat costume. It's just not a go-to title, so I can see why Disney decided to bring this one to Blu-ray kind of under the radar. It's still a movie that completest collectors will want to own, but a title that the casual fan could probably pass up.

The reason 'The Aristocats' is such a lukewarm type of movie is that its plot never really seems all that dire. It's simply turns into another "journey home" type of story. Duchess (Eva Gabor) is the pet of a wealthy Parisian woman who has decided to leave her entire estate to her beloved cats. Her butler (Roddy Maude-Roxby) doesn't particularly like that idea. See, he's next in line to receive the inheritance, so if the cats mysteriously disappear, he'll be a rich man someday. So the plan is to cat-nap Duchess and her three kittens, drive them out to the country, and never hear from them again.

Even for a Disney movie, the idea of willing an entire estate to felines seems quite unbelievable and silly. What's even sillier is the great lengths the butler goes to in disposing of the cats (I assume drowning the kittens in a plastic bag in a river was considered a little too mean for a Disney movie). Soon Duchess and her kids find themselves lost in the countryside, desperate to get back home to their pampered lifestyle.

They soon meet up with Thomas O'Malley (Phil Harris) the alley cat who provides them with companionship, and also provides the movie with its necessary opposing character conflict. Duchess is prim and proper, while O'Malley is rough around the edges and likes to sing about how great life is when you're out on your own. He soon takes a liking to Duchess and her brood and offers to get them back home safely.

As with all journey home movies, there must be a cast of eccentric characters encountered along the way. Here we meet two rambunctious dogs who like to attack passing motorists, two English geese on vacation, and a group of hip-swinging cats that sing a song ("Everybody Wants to be a Cat") which will stick in your brain forever. As I write this review the chorus plays over and over in my head like a broken record.

'The Aristocats' is an easy way to pass the time, but doesn't require much – if any – emotional investment. The song numbers are cute and the characters are innocuous enough. The villain is the only truly annoying part as he never really feels all that evil or memorable. On the long list of Disney villains, I'm sure "the butler" from 'The Aristocats' ranks somewhere near the bottom, right above Sykes from 'Oliver and Company' but below Governor Ratcliffe from 'Pocahontas.'

What I really like about this movie is its old-time animation style. It's very rough around the edges, but speaks to the type of animation going on at that time. Animation is so bright and shiny nowadays, it's nice to see a coarsely animated movie like 'The Aristocats' every once in a while.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

This is a two-disc set. It's a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. It comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc. The set comes with a slipcover that has the same artwork as the case. The set also has a Disney Movie Rewards code inside. It's a region free release.

The key word here is "faithful," because Disney has been just that. Its 1080p presentation is a faithful representation of this movie that was originally animated in 1970. The first thing you'll notice is that the animation isn't even remotely clean. There are dozens of sketch lines that appear and disappear around characters, but that's the way it's meant to be. It's a very rough style of animation, however, it's the way it's mean to be seen.

Now, you may recall I gave other movies like 'All Dogs Go to Heaven' and 'The Secret of NIMH' low video scores even though they were similarly gritty in presentations. The difference here is that there isn't anything in 'The Aristocats' video presentation that shouldn't be there. Those other MGM titles were full of noise and never even looked like MGM had taken the time to upgrade them for HD presentation. Disney does look like it's produced an authentic cinematic representation of this film. Yes, the movie shows its age, and it isn't as "clean" as modern day animated films, but this is the way it's supposed to look.

Even with the irregular style of animation, the movie's colors are still as bold as ever. Especially during the "Everybody Wants to be a Cat" musical number where the colors change to bright pinks, purples, greens, and blues. People expecting a perfectly clear video presentation will probably be disappointed, but people who are animation fans and like to see these kinds of faithful video presentations will love it.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'The Aristocats' has been given a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that does the movie justice in just about every facet. Its musical numbers are given ample room to perform. I really enjoyed the "Everybody Wants to be a Cat" scene which features a nice omnipresent sound which travels to each channel. The bass beats of that song reverberate through the sub-woofer, offering a nice steady dun-dun-dun.

Dialogue is pleasantly clear. The track, even though the movie is on the old side, is free from any hissing or crackling, which is very nice. Directionality, like cats knocking over things off screen or a motorcycle zooming from one side of the frame to the other, is handled fairly seamlessly. Disney has done a good job creating a realistic audio mix here. One that will envelope its listener.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

The Sherman Brothers: 'The Aristocats' of Disney Songs (SD, 4 min.) - A short look at the Sherman's work on 'The Aristocats.'

Deleted Song (SD, 8 min.) - The song is "She Never Felt Alone."

Movie with On-Screen Lyrics (HD) - A sing-along feature that you can enable at the beginning of the movie.

Classic Song Selection (HD, 11 min.) - Four songs from the movie that you can sing along with.

Music Video (HD, 2 min.) - "Oui Oui Marie," performed by D!tto.

Animated Excerpt (HD, 13 min.) - A piece from the "Wonderful World of Disney," presented by Walt himself, which discusses the history of cats. It's called "The Great Cat Family."

Bonus Short (HD, 7 min.) - This is a short film with Minnie Mouse called "Bath Day."

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

The Lost Open (HD, 10 min.) - Added for this Blu-ray is a deleted song which is introduced by composer Richard Sherman.

Easter Eggs

No easter eggs reported for 'The Aristocats' yet. Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we'll credit you with the find.

Final Thoughts

I enjoy 'The Aristocats' more for its style of animation than for its story. Its villain and plot are pretty ho-hum and nothing really memorable happens (besides the trippy color-changing musical number). It's never been considered amongst the cream of the crop when it comes to Disney animated titles. Yet, Disney has provided a faithful video presentation that has been coupled with a well-put-together audio presentation. Fans will no doubt be excited with the outcome. Even though this isn't a huge Disney release, it still comes recommended.