Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: The Aristocats

Walt Disney Animation Studios 20th feature film.

http://viooz.co/movies/1704-the-aristocats-1970.html#

My opinion right after watching movie

At first, I was thinking that this movie was not as bad as it was the last time I watched it but it just had a bunch of filler, but I slowly realized that this movie took so much from Lady and the Tramp and One Hundred and One Dalmatians. I am confused by the overall theme of the film, and what they were trying to get at. It is definitely one of the weaker movies for a reason.

Production

Okay, so I barely found info on this. So this is the final project that Disney greenlit (though he did have old work that would be used for Robin Hood and The Rescuers, but years before those projects were greenlit). Disney would barely make it to the board meetings, and when he did, all he did was say yes or no. It took 4 years to make.

Apparently, Louis Armstrong was supposed to be in the film, but that was changed at last minute. The original draft involved Duchess giving off her 3 talented kids off to the best place in town, so they can be well taken care of and successful because of their talents, like a heartwarming film. This is also the third film in a row to be directed by Wolfgang Reitherman.

Story

So we are in Paris 1910 and the movie starts with the retired opera singer Madame Adelaide Bonfamille (Hermoine Baddeley) taking a horse ride with her kittens. She arrives home to await for her lawyer to change her will. The lawyer (Charles Lane) arrives with some of the ugliest Xerography animation that I have seen. Her butler Edgar (Roddy Maude-Roxby) is overhearing the conversation about her putting her kittens first on the will, which makes him mad and sad.

First off, I do not know why kittens are being put into the will, and Edgar is forgetting that MADAME IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL. His plan to get rid of the kittens will only cause her to get more kittens, and even IF she died with the kittens there, THEY CANNOT BE PUT AS OWNERS OF THE ESTATE, ETC. Then he is worried about not living 12 years. Almost nothing makes sense about it, proving how pathetic he is.

So the kittens are fighting until Duchess (Eva Gabor) tells them they need to practice their skills. We get the song Scales and Arpeggios, which is decent enough. This scene does kind of drag, but I am assuming we are supposed to get to know the cats. Edgar sedates their milk with sleeping pills, and takes them out to the middle of the countryside in the middle of the night, when they are asleep.

We also get this long ass filler chase scene from these two random dogs chasing after Edgar, which gets old, very quickly. They are chasing him for absolutely no reason. We are over 20 minutes in, and the plot is just getting started, but stalled because of this filler scene. So Duchess and the kids are realizing that they are lost, and this scene is really nice in how it shows off her parenting skills.

We are introduced to Thomas O’Malley (Phil Harriss), and all I am thinking from him and his song is that he reminds me of a previous Disney character; has the world to himself, flirty, low-brow…
This photo is used for illustrative purposes only, and not intended to identify where this movie “got inspiration from”. It is not up to me where people would come up with an assumption of where people may say this movie was “inspired from”, because the studio was lost.

So after he tries to hit on Duchess, he backs off because he realizes she has 3 kids and is loose, has 3 baby daddies, is an escort.  All jokes aside, she tells him to move it, and he decides to join her, thinking her kids are charming. He hijacks a car by hopping on the front window (then suddenly disappearing when the driver is cursing about the cat in the front window). They hop on, and he asks her to join him to live with him (pushy and clingy much), and she tells him no because she loves and is loyal to her master.

Edgar reads about himself on the newspaper and cackles about his crime, worrying all of the animals.

This photo is used for illustrative purposes only, and not intended to identify where this movie “got inspiration from”. It is not up to me where people would come up with an assumption of where people may say this movie was “inspired from”, because the studio was lost.

As Edgar rambles on and on, he realizes that he left the clue of his hat at the crime site, and needs to get it. He also tells the other animals that he was the kidnapper. WOW. Anyways, Marie (Liz English) needs to be saved AGAIN from falling down a train track (she fell out of the truck too) and Thomas goes to save her.

So we get the geese who adds absolutely nothing to the movie (Monica Evans and Carol Shelley). They see the cats, and talk about how O’Malley is handsome and charming, but when he tells her that he is not married to Duchess, they start dissing him. So they reach the town, and the geese’s drunk uncle (Bill Thompson) joins them. This is like a good 7 minutes of the movie. The animals are being overly cute for absolutely no reason too.

Th dogs that chased him off before comes back to chase him around. I am still wondering why I almost feel sorry for this villain, when I am NOT supposed to.

So they reach it to O’Malley’s pad, and his jazz friends are there, but Duchess insists that they stay there. Well, things soon gets turnt up and everyone is jamming to Everybody Wants to Be A Cat (with Duchess sneaking in some innuendo about turning her on). The cats soon leave, and the kids go to sleep. O’Malley and Duchess soon go outside to discuss them staying with him, but she refuses, as though she had fun, she is still loyal to her master; where could this be inspired from??????

So they soon return to the home to be captured and tied up by Edgar. Madame ran down because she heard them, but he tells her she is hallucinating. Roquefort (Sterling Holloway) runs around as the cats tell him to look for O Malley. He finds him and his cats, who run to the house to beat up Edgar.

So soon after that happens, Madame takes Edgar off her will, and adopts O’Malley and all the other cats, to start a cat foundation and a cat home for the ones that have no homes. Where did that come from?…….
It is very hard to invest in this film. Not only does the story have a bunch of filler, with a dumb villain and villain plot, but it is hard to invest in the characters and story; especially when there were so many things taken from Lady and the Tramp and One Hundred and One Dalmatians. It is clear that they were lost soon after Disney died.

Characters

So the characters? Ehh. They are not that memorable and they kind of just ramble on and on. The kids are kind of annoying and all they do is act cutesy, and it just comes off as annoying and it gets old. They either ranged from mediocre to unmemorable and pathetic.

She is one of the mediocre ones. She does not do much but falls in love with O’Malley and protect her children. All I know about her is that she is soft spoken, motherly, and classy. She is not bad, but is not a standout, and does not control the plot.
Ehh, I could not get into him. Not only does he barely have depth, but he has been done before, and so much better. He did not seem organic to me.
Ugh, he is just pathetic, Not only does the plot point to turn him into a villain is bad, but he never thinks things through, and has to go back to cover his tracks, after forgetting to do it beforehand. He is just really stupid and a bore as a character overall.
Him and his siblings add nothing to the film. One thing I have to say is that he is a painter and is cute, but he is not engaging.
I feel like her most defining trait is that she is a girl. She is a romantic, and probably the most likable and memorable one out of the three.
Gosh, I don’t even really remember him. So from the picture, I think he is the piano player. Don’t really care to remember him either.
She is just a nice, lonely old lady who loves kitties. She is nice, but forgettable.

Animation

The animation is just really scratchy, undetailed, and ugly. The pencil lines are so apparent in the movements (especially the humans), the backgrounds are the dullest yet, and the colorings could have been a lot better. The animation is not a good look.

Music

The music in this film ranges from decent to good. Most of the songs do not really have much if any purpose to the plot of the story (even Everybody Wants to Be A Cat), and there is a jazzy tune to the score and the songs. The former is the only standout song, and the score is just decent.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on December 11th, 1970, it did….. alright. It was more popular in Britain than it was in the Western Hemisphere, but it did turn a profit. At this point in time of the history, most of their money were coming from Disneyland, and merchandise.

Reception Today

It has been re-released twice since its initial release; in 1980 and 1987. Today, it is one of the forgotten ones, and many people see it as the start of the Dark Age of WDAS, since most of it was done without Disney, and it was clear that they were losing direction. It is also seen as one of the weaker films in the canon.

Final Score

Story: 5.5/10

Characters: 6/10

Animation: 5.5/10

Music: 7/10

24/40= 60%

Next Time…

Review: May 5th, 2014
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21 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: The Aristocats

  1. This film will always be a film I have a soft spot for, it may be nostalgia, but I can’t ever bring myself to not liking this film.

    I do feel that the chase to get Edgar’s hat back is extremely too long, but I don’t agree that the ‘Scales and Arpeggios’ scene was too long; I felt it was just right.

    And what did you think of ‘O’Malley the Alley Cat’ song?

    1. The O Malley song is very eh; kind of like he is.

      The chase was extremely too long, and it adds no purpose other than failed comic relief. I just think that the entire `”Scales” scene (not neccessarily the song) could have been better paced, and it was a bit too long.

      I really wanted to like this film, but I could not get into it. I am in the middle of finishing The Little Mermaid review.

  2. I remembered myself falling asleep during this film in the past. I tried to rewatch it, but couldn’t finish the first half hour. -__- the animation is bad, the characters r extremely bland, the songs r forgettable and men, and the villain……I feel bad for him O.o u aren’t supposed to……..
    Overall, I def think this one is the beginning of the Dark Age, and its apparent throughout the film. Really the worst film in the Dark Age.

    1. Fell a sleep in the first half hour……oh damn. I agree with what you said about this film, but as I finished the Oliver review a few days ago, I have to say that it is not the worst film in this era. I think it is the real beginning of the Dark age.

  3. Once again, we are in agreement. Do you consider Edgar the weakest Disney villain ever, like me, or is there other villains that you think are worse?

      1. I’ve actually read about someone who thinks that Alameda Slim from “Home on the Range” is worse. She says that because Edgar had no potential to be cool, whereas Slim looked threatening in his introduction, only for his coolness to DIE when he starts his song.

  4. I actually love this movie, I find it very entertaining and engaging, but from a technical point of view it’s a weak movie: it doesn’t have an impactful message or much focus. The first filler scene with the dogs was annoying, and the second was a bit better, but still just useless filler. I liked the cats, Roquefort and Madame Bonfamillie. Edgar is not bad, but he is more of an antagonist than a villain. He has redeeming qualities: he works hard, puts up with the lawyer and is loyal to Madame until he hears about the will.

    The story is similar to 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp, but not as much as you said, IMO. The romance is extremely similar, but it feels different because Thomas is more debonair, suave than Tramp, and Duchess is more seductive and flirty than Lady. And “Everybody Wants to br a Cat” is so darn catchy. It is still stuck in my head.

    1. Yeah, the filler is more than annoying. I wanted to like this film, but there is almost nothing there to like. Edgar just reeks of pathetic. His motivation just makes no sense. Welcome to the blog.

  5. Oh, man, this one. I found it cute, but that was the only good thing I found about it.
    Looking forward to your Robin-Hood review, I have a love-hate relationship with that movie.

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