The Aristocats

The Aristocats ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Wolfgang Reitherman. Cast: Phil HarrisEva GaborSterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers

The 70s and most of the 80s are well known as the “The Bronze Age” for Disney animation, which is probably a nice way to say “a weaker age” and to signal a downfall for the company (It’s not by chance that the next phase will be called “Disney Renaissance”) and it all starts from here. The Aristocats was the first feature length to be done without the supervision of Walt himself and you can clearly see how the nobody seemed to dare taking any risks. The story was pretty straight forward, rather unimaginative and fairly episodic, the pace pretty slow and crucially with most of the characters (usually the strong points of previous Disney films) are all pretty much recycled from previous outings, most of glaringly from “Lady and the Tramp” and “101 Dalmatians” (Though, it’ll get even worse once they start recycling even old animations from previous films)

Despite some lovely animated backgrounds, few (in fact very few) funny moments and the Jazzy “everybody wants to be a cat” song, this is clearly not one of the best in the Disney canon. Whether it’s to do with this recycled feeling, that we’ve seen a lot of this before or that the clumsy baddie of piece, which usually would be the highlights of these films (think of the various stepmothers and witches)in this case is actually not that scary at all (even the music cues that accompany him seem to be from a Clouseau film), or maybe it’s my modern sensibility which makes me struggle to really sympathised for a bunch of rich cats… 😂

I’m obviously exaggerating, it’s still a sweet and gentle film, one that you can easily watch with your kids (though a new caption at the front of the film nowadays warns the audience about old stereotypes and things which could offend modern sensitivities), but I think “nostalgia for the old days” or for the things most of us grew up watching as children plays a lot of our perception that this is a better film that it actually is. I mean, it’s OK (it just about reaches my 3 stars mark.

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