DVD Review: The Aristocats Special Edition

The Aristocats DVD CoverThe Aristocats arrived on DVD in February. I was supposed to review it in February. I didn’t. It’s now March, and I finally got to the film. As much as I could watch anyway.

I don’t believe that, even in my childhood, I ever saw The Aristocats, and as such, my childhood sentiment for the film isn’t there. The movie, about four cats who try to make it back home to Paris after they are abandoned in the countryside by an evil butler, is a Disney classic, but it’s certainly a film that shows its age.

The Aristocats is moderately funny at times and has some quality entertainment; a scene where the butler hides in a haystack and carefully tries to steal a bunch of stuff from a couple of dogs is pretty amusing, and there are other highlights as well. The animation is good given that the film originally hit theaters 38 years ago (yes, 1970 was 38 years ago); actually, I miss this style of animation a lot. All the cartoons these days look so glossy; the roughness of The Aristocats really works in its favor.

I expect little kids will still find this movie entertaining, but I’d be curious to see if that’s the truth. The style of humor is certainly different than that found in modern movies, and I wonder if children are still able to appreciate calmer, more laid back cartoons like this film. Unlike most cartoons, The Aristocats really doesn’t have a prominent villain, and the film takes its time moving from sequence to sequence without any sense of excitement or tension. This isn’t bad – it’s just different.

Nevertheless, I found The Aristocats a little boring. Had I grown up on the film, I’d probably think differently, but since I didn’t, I didn’t see anything very spectacular here.  Little kids may still enjoy it, but the film certainly feels dated.

The DVD offers several games and activities, deleted scenes and some behind-the-scenes featurettes, none of which I bothered to watch.

By Erik Samdahl
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