1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Reviews #20: The Aristocats

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #20: The Aristocats

Disney Movie Review: 20/53 - The Aristocats

Ryan Dosier - The Aristocats (1970) marks a lot of firsts for Disney animated features. Not only is it the first animated feature produced in the 1970s, but it is also the first animated film without Walt Disney’s guiding hand. Both of these factors make The Aristocats one of the weaker Disney features, but it remains a cute, harmless fun little movie with great voice acting and music.

The star of The Aristocats is Thomas O’Malley, voiced by the great Phil Harris hot off his role as Baloo in The Jungle Book. O’Malley is a complete rogue character. He oozes charm and is the funniest and most delightful character in the film. Luckily once he shows up onscreen the bulk of the story rests on his shoulders to make it a fun enough watch.

Unfortunately none of the other characters in The Aristocats stand out much at all. Edgar the butler is especially weak as the film’s villain. He does nothing to make him a great or really even a good villain. He’s entirely forgettable. Duchess, the female cat, and her three kittens are adorable and sweet but sometimes too much so. The snappy Thomas O’Malley is much more fun.

It’s clear watching the film that Disney, wisely, was not attempting to push any boundaries in animation without Walt there. What they made was a fun film that is still worthwhile even though it is nowhere near as important or wonderful as the work overseen by Walt Disney. The character animation remains terrific and the music is jazzy and jumpy, but for the most part The Aristocats pales when compared to earlier Disney classics.

The most dynamic and delightful moment in The Aristocats is the song “Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat.” The song itself is upbeat and fantastic with incredibly catchy music and lyrics. The colors and animation used in this scene are delightful as well. It’s hard not to smile and dance along during the song.

The film’s story is incredibly weak. Simplistic tales like this have worked for Disney before, but The Aristocats is not one of those times. Very little happens and we aren’t given enough reasons to root for our heroes to let them carry the movie alone. A stronger story really would have benefited The Aristocats.

Overall, The Aristocats is a very good effort from the animation studio founded by Walt Disney without Walt Disney there. It is charming and fun throughout and is quite forgivable in its faults. A few fun, lasting characters make The Aristocats worth watching.

2.5/5 Creme de la Creme a la Edgars

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