07/04/2015  
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests on DVD Jun 30First Peoples on DVD Jul 7Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 on Digital Jun 30 & Blu-ray Combo Jul 14Tough Being Loved By Jerks on DVD Jun 9Turbo Fast: Season One on DVD June 2Inside the Court of Henry VIII on DVD Jun 16

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Watch the star-studded "Wet Hot American Summer" traile...
'Star Trek 3' Title Revealed by Director Justin Lin: Ta...
Mexico Won't Be Sending Anyone To Miss Universe Pageant...
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14...
Cosby lawyer: Unsealing court docs 'terribly embarrassi...
Disney bans selfie sticks at all theme parks, including...
Jimmy Fallon hospitalized after hand injury...
Photos From New Episodes of "The X-Files"...
Apple's decision to pay artists a win for indies, Taylo...
My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Walt Disney Home Video presents
Aristocats (1970)

"Everybody wants to be a cat, 'cause a cat's the only cat that knows where it's at."
- Scat Cat (Scatman Crothers)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: May 02, 2000

Stars: Eva Gabor, Phil Harris
Other Stars: Sterling Holloway
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:18m:46s
Release Date: April 04, 2000
UPC: 717951008305
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D+ DA-C+ B-

DVD Review

While the keepcase of this disc proclaims that this was the last animated feature that Walt Disney approved, it is also one of the least of all the animated features from that studio. Walt was in his cryogenic tank three years before this picture was released, so he can hardly have done more than approve the concept. The Aristocats continues the unhappy trend of celebrity voices begun in The Jungle Book, even though it tends to distract from the picture itself.

In the case of The Aristocats, perhaps that is a good thing. The story is a weak rehash of Lady and the Tramp, with cats substituting for dogs. It is probably not a coincidence that no less than seven writers are credited with "story" but that no one was willing to take the credit or the blame.

The story tells of Duchess (Eva Gabor) and her three kittens, who are pampered by their owner, Madame (Hermione Baddeley), a retired opera star in 1910 Paris. Madame changes her will to leave her vast estate to her butler, Edgar, after the death of her cats. Edgar overhears this and takes steps to make sure that there are no obstacles to his inheritance by dumping the cats out in the countryside. The lost cats meet a rough-and-tumble alley cat, Thomas O'Malley (Phil Harris, who was used to much better effect in Jungle Book) as well as two gregarious geese who help the cats make their way back to Paris to attempt to foil Edgar's plot.

The film is overly long and heavily padded; an extended sequence of Edgar in the country being pursued by two dogs (voiced in inexplicable southern U.S. drawls by Pat Buttram of Green Acres and George Lindsey, Goober on The Andy Griffith Show) is essentially repeated. The lack of attention to structure betrays the many hands stirring this pot. The humor is lame and includes such chestnuts as the "walk this way" gag from the waddling geese. I found the film interminable even as a child, and it hasn't gotten any better over the years.

Part of the blame rests in the lackluster score and completely forgettable tunes. Only "Scales and Arpeggios" approaches anything like the glory days of the Sherman brothers (who wrote this and two of the other songs, another odd patchwork) who did such marvelous work with Mary Poppins and several other Disney classics. Maurice Chevalier was somehow coerced into singing the bland and uninteresting title song.

The 1910 setting seems pointless; nothing is made of it other than Edgar's backfiring motorcycle. Indeed, large portions of the picture are completely alien to the time period, such as the beatnik cat band and the psychedelic lighting during the big (and tedious) production number Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.

From a technical standpoint, the animation style is interesting, for the line work is often feathered, giving the appearance of animated pencil lines rather than ink. While this effect is not consistent, it is undeniably intriguing and must have added to the work of the animators to a significant extent.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image is where this disc truly shines. The Disney studio wisely did The Aristocats as an RSDL disc to maximize the video quality. As noted above, the animation line work comes through beautifully with no artifacting of any kind. Colors are bright, solid and consistent throughout. Even though the nighttime scenes in the country are very dark indeed, they are still quite clear.

According to the IMDb, the original theatrical aspect ratio for this film was 1.75:1; the case says that the 1.33:1 presentation on the disc is the original aspect ratio. I am inclined to agree with the case. There are no obvious instances of panning, scanning or cropping here. There is ample room above and below the titles, however, so it is possible that the film was soft-matted in some theatres and the mattes opened up for this disc. The compositions work quite nicely in 1.33:1. Accordingly, I am not downgrading this title as a pan & scan release.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Although the film is presented in Dolby Surround, there is precious little activity in the surrounds except for music. Dialogue is almost entirely in the center speaker. The sound mix is rather average sounding with little directionality of any kind. Sound is clear and not clipped.

The different voice timbres audible on this disc are reproduced so well that it is clear that the voice actors in many instances were not recorded together. I don't recall this effect from the VHS tape, so this may be a case of the sound engineer doing too good a job of reproduction of the sound; I could have lived without this degree of accuracy.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s)Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Read-along storybook
  2. $5 rebate certificate for upgrade from VHS version of the film
  3. Assorted other coupons, including $1 off any Disney video
  4. 8 page booklet on making music
Extras Review: This disc includes four preview trailers that precede the menu. They can be passed with the chapter skip key, but the menu function is disabled. A rather dark trailer for Aristocats is also included.

There is a unique extra of a storybook version of the film included. The text of the story appears on the TV screen with still pictures. You can either have the story read to you (12m:48s to do so), with music and sound effects as well as the visual equivalent of page turns, or read the story yourself and turn the page by hitting the Enter button. While this isn't quite like reading a book, it might instill the desire to read in children not interested in books. Personally, I would think this would have more value to parents if a small book were included in the keepcase.

The three audio tracks (English, French and Spanish) cannot be changed on the fly, thought that is a pretty minor irritation in this film. Subtitles are only available in English. They are generally accurate, although they do not transcribe the portion of the title song that is sung in French.

While the disc readout indicates there are three angles, only the one of the main feature is accessible via the remote that I could find. Comparison animation drawings would have been a nice use of these other angles.

The inclusion of a $5 rebate for those who already own the VHS version is a nice touch which makes this DVD a little more affordable.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

The Aristocats is one of the lesser animated features out of the Disney studio. Disney completists will want it, and will be pleased by the high quality transfer, but children and adults are likely to be bored. Go with Lady and the Tramp instead.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, netflix, wet hot american summer: first day of camp, michael showalter, david wain, elizabeth banks, michael ian black, bradley cooper, judah friedlander, janeane garofalo, joe lo truglio, ken marino, christopher meloni, marguerite moreau, zak orth, amy poehler, david hyde pierce, paul rudd, molly shannon, movie, sci-fy, star trek, justin lin, j.j. abrams, star trek beyond, zoe soldana, chris pine, celebrity, donald trump, republican presidential candidate, nbc, televisa, ora tv, lupita jones, carlos slim, larry king, drama, bill cosby, sex-assault lawsuit, associated press, george m. gowen iii, disneyland, disney california adventure, selfie sticks banned, california screaming, coachella, lollapalooza, jimmy fallon, tonight show, hand injury, x files, david duchovny, gillian anderson, fox, january 24, 2016, music, apple music, allen kovac, motley crue, taylor swift, elvis costello, calvin harris, animation, kids, the tonight show, colin ferrell, vince vaughn, true detective, hbo, nbc nightly news, brian williams, anchor, matt lauer, today, msnbc, lester holt, mark feldstein, inside out, pixar, mindy-disgust, amy poehler-joy, phyllis smith-sadness, fear-bill hader, anger-lewis black., nbc evening news, cnn, robert barnett, daytime soap oprah, general hospital, genie francis, anthony geary, foo fighters, cancellations, wembley stadium, murrayfield, dave grohl, sci-fi, adventure action, avengers: age of ultron, spectre, star wars, cbs, big brother, julie chen, wwe wrestler, professional poker player, a poker dealer, a dentist, and a few college students, documentary, mission: impossible - rogue nation, tom cruise, pixels, adam sandler, ted 2, mark wahlberg, terminator genisys, arnold schwarzenegger, doctor strange, chiwetel ejiofor, benedict cumberbatch, tilda swinton, nightly news, the today show, dateline nbc, duck dynasty, jep robertson, jessica, the good, the bad, and the grace of god: what honesty and pain taught us about faith, family, and forgiveness, good morning america, beyonce, marco gorges, comedy, bridge of spies, tom hanks, steven spielberg, matt carman, coen brothers, spy thriller, true events, mission:impossible rogue nation, christopher mcquarrie, kirk krack, rebecca ferguson, lifetime, deadly adoption, kristen wiig, will ferrell, fantastic beasts and where to find them, eddie redmayne. the theory of everything

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store