Saturday, 24 January 2015

Review : Disney's The AristoCats (1970)

The AristoCats : With the help of a smooth talking tomcat, a family of Parisian felines set to inherit a fortune from their owner try to make it back home after a jealous butler kidnaps them and leaves them in the country.

The Story goes that it's set in Paris and Retired madame Adelaide Bonfamille enjoys the good life in her Paris villa with even classier cat Duchess and three kittens: pianist Berlioz, painter Toulouse and sanctimonious Marie.

When loyal butler Edgar overhears her leaving  everything to the cats in her will in the event of her death, he becomes greedy and feels if he's going to get that fortune he has to get the Cats out of the way. 

In an effort to dispose of the cats he drugs and kidnaps them. However retired army dogs make his sidecar capsize on the country. It is then that Duchess and the Kitten meet Crafty stray cat Thomas O'Malley takes them under his wing back to Paris. Edgar tries to cover his tracks and catch them at return, but more animals turn on him, from the cart horse Frou-Frou to the tame mouse Roquefort and O'Malley's jazz friends.

Things to know about this film is that younger and more sensitive children may be upset by the drugging and abandonment of a mother cat and her three kittens. For a brief moment the kittens can't find their mother, and there is the left possibility of them being lost. However there are some cracking scenes in this film; for instance the slapstick chase scene, it's animated very well and made out to be quite comical even if Edgar the butler does wield a pitch fork. Plus played for laughs are shots of Edgar the butler's underwear and a drunk goose weaving down the street, that's all playful comedy material which merits Disney's efforts to engage with the audience and make them feel comfortable watching their films.

I admire The AristoCats for the energy of it. The energy that it acquires from the essenricity of the characters which make the story quite off the wall and dramatic and funny. I like the scene when their in the flat the 'everybody wants to be a cat scene' is full of energy, is communicated and received well through music and bright colours and the actions of what the characters are doing in that scene and just sums up what that films about in the best light.

I think the silly chase scenes with Edgar the butler and the country hounds, Napoleon and Lafayette, children will endure in very much because it's comedy. Children love to laugh and they love to be entertained. They crave it and especially in the scene around the windmill. It's just couldn't be communicated in a more clearer way that this is meant to be identified as being funny. They're choreographed for lots of giggles; complete with failing-suspenders gags. 

The AristoCats is a very jammy, jazzy, comedy classic and sure enough the highlight is the toe-tapping song "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat." There's little plot "cats journey home" and the characters are less memorable than other animated animal capers like Lady and the Tramp (1955) and 101 Dalmatians (1961)Phil Harris, who plays Baloo from the original Disney Jungle Book (1967) and would later go on to be Little John in Robin Hood (1973), is fun as O'Malley, but lacks some of the rapscallion antics that would make him stand out better to an audience against all the odds. 8/10!

NEXT : Nanny McPhee

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