Saturday, 25 May 2013

The AristoCats (1970) - ★★½

Just O'Malley pitching woo to Dutchess
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Voice Actors: Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, George Lindsay, Pat Buttram

Believe it or not, when I was a kid The AristoCats was my favorite movie of all time. No matter what videos were on the shelf, I'd always be drawn to picking this movie. I guess I'd put that down to the fact that I've grown up with cats all my life. Upon re-watching this movie, I can't help but wonder what I ever saw in it. I mean, it's alright, but nothing special in my eyes. By now you'll know that it doesn't matter how childish or musical a film is, I'll probably like it anyway. This movie just isn't really funny, isn't all that enchanting, and it's a little bit boring.

It's the story of a cat and her three kittens, who are owned by a lovely aristocratic old woman. The old woman decides that she'll leave all of her money and estate to her cats, and when they pass away it will go to her servant Edgar. Well of course Edgar hears all about it, so he kidnaps the cats and abandons them far away from their home. The cats must make their way back to the house with the help of a lovable stray tom cat named O'Malley. 

I'll start with the positives! My favorite thing about this movie is the song "Everybody wants to be a cat!" It's sung by Scatcat, a lovable jazz cat voiced by the awesome Scatman Crothers. All my life I've loved this song, so it brought back many good memories. I also really enjoyed the animation, which unashamedly looked as if it were hand drawn. Most Disney films pre-1990 were hand drawn, but the AristoCats doesn't shy away from showing us the sketch lines and whatnot. This makes the movie standout amongst others.

I'm trying to think of other good things to say about this film, but they're just not worthy of mentioning. So I'll skip straight to what I didn't like. First of all there are many scenes that are intended to be funny but just fall flat. Particularly the shenanigans between two guard dogs and the servant Edgar. Oh that Edgar, my goodness I despise that character! He wasn't in the least bit funny, plus the things he did were pretty despicable. It made me really happy to see what happened to him in the end.

Leave money to the cats? Over my dead body!
There were hardly any decent songs too. For a film that has jazz and class, this movie contained little of either. Yes, there was that one good song with Scatcat, but the rest were just meh. When O'Malley cat was introduced to us, his song just came across conceited and sleazy. I ended up liking the character a lot, but I think that song is a tad overrated.

This is one of the only Disney films I think could have benefited from making the animals LESS human. Of course the cats needed to be human enough to play instruments and whatnot, but at times you forget they're just cats. Same with the banter between the horse and the mouse, who both try to foil the plans of Edgar. I don't really like how the animals could read human writing and understand what people were saying. Eh, it's a Disney movie.

I guess this movie wasn't enchanting simply because the characters were more human than animal. It's a darn shame, because I'd truly like to give each and every Disney film a high rating. Even though I used to adore this film, it's just average to me now. I really hope kids will still like this movie though, because I can appreciate how it makes younger audiences happy. So if you're an adult, I wouldn't really bother with the AristoCats.

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