The Aristocats: Special Edition

DVD Reviews | Mar 11th, 2008

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Starring Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Liz English, Gary Dubin
Written By: Larry Clemmons, Vance Gerry
Directed By: Wolfgang Reitherman
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Although “The Aristocats” wasn’t one of my favorites as a kid, with the release of the Special Edition DVD, I had the chance to watch a movie that I had overlooked all of those years.

Some may say that the plot and the animation in “The Aristocats” is too similar to another Disney classic, “101 Dalmations”. On the surface that may seem to be the case but upon further inspection you can see that the movies could not have been further apart. Although the main protagonist in the movie is a wealthy Madame and the animation style is also the sketchy look that Disney introduced in the 60’s, the similarities end there. In “101 Dalmations” the story takes place in London, England and the main characters are dogs. In “The Aristocats”, the story focuses on Paris, France and of course, cats. There is no Cruella De Vil, but Edgar the bumbling butler who intends to inherit Madame Adelaide Bonfamille’s only after all of her cats have passed away. Hoping to speed up the process, Edgar comes up with a scheme to rid himself of the cats by kidnapping them and dumping them off in the countryside, hopefully to never be heard of again.

I will have to say that I have always been a fan of the “sketchy” animation and the more detailed painted backgrounds that appeared in movies such as “101 Dalmations” and “The Aristocats”. A departure from the finished hard-line artwork of earlier Disney movies, this look just seemed to have more of a flow and extra flare to it when compared to regular animation. The characters were more vivid and lifelike than in some of the other films.

Adding more vitality to the feel of “The Aristocats”, is a soundtrack that is both classical and swingin’ sometimes in the same song. Jazz, scat, classical…the songs in the film are strong enough that one might consider “The Aristocats” a period piece and are some of the most interesting in any Disney movie.

“The Aristocats” is one of those movies that seemed to have been overshadowed by Disney’s monster moneymakers like “Snow White”, “Cinderella” and “101 Dalmations”. The voice actors are right on, the music is lively and entertaining and the animation is wonderful. It is definitely one of the hidden gems in Disney’s vast film repertoire. It surprised me upon further inspection and I’ve seen just about every Disney animated movie ever created.

Games and Activities
Disney Virtual Kitten
Virtual Kitten DVD-ROM Games
“The Aristocats” Fun With Language Game

Backstage Disney
The Great Cat Family (Excerpt)
The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats of Disney Songs
“The Aristocats” Scrapbook

Deleted Scene: “She Never Felt Alone”

Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

Original Theatrical Release Aspect Ratio (1.75:1)


Favorite Scenes: The swingin party at Tomas OMalleys pad, Edgar trying to escape from Napoleon and Lafayette, meeting Uncle Waldo
Rating: G
Running Time: 79 minutes
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