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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat!", 26 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Aristocats [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Like many other studios, Disney went through a series a highs and lows as the 1970's entered an age of transition, rethinking. The Aristocats was the first of three full length animations that were released during this decade, and thus marked a number of changes for the production values following Walt's passing and number of other departures.

What we see are much more light-hearted affairs that places less emphasis on any real threat, and more on the exposition of the main characters. This makes The Aristocats a safer form of entertainment for families, as was the particularly canny 'Robin Hood' (perhaps notable for an almost complete lack of threat) and 'The Rescuers', whose success was born from a more dramatic and intense underscore to the story itself.

I should make it known that I've always enjoyed The Aristocats to a certain degree, but understandably, it never really moved me in the same way as earlier Disney films (and perhaps unfairly, seemed more of a rainy day feature). Based on the quality of other restorations from this studio however, I decided to upgrade from a decidedly old VHS copy of the movie and revisit some of those memories.

In short, I'm over the moon and glad that I added this to my collection. Sure, it was never a 'risk' purchasing this product, but I don't agree with Disney's pricing and branding strategy one bit. Marketing their movies by 'Diamond' and 'Special Edition' is no more than unique than slapping on a shimmery card slipcover and suggesting that the product is automatically better than those around it on a shelf. This particular product contains more special features than a few other (supposedly "superior") Diamond Edition's, and yet it is priced exactly the same. I was also both amused and annoyed that 'Beauty and the Beast' apparently deserved a whole extra disc just for additional content, whilst the groundbreaking 'Fantasia' received a 5-minute documentary about some museum.

The mind boggles...

Of those special features, you'll find a nice 'Sing-a-long' mode for the main feature itself (I confess, I've yet to try the 'singing' aspect!), a couple of vintage TV shorts, a documentary and some other small bits and bobs that rightfully respect the quality of this movie. Perhaps being older, I have a better appreciation for the quality of the animation, the characterisation of cat-like behaviour and the wonderful music. It's a very simple story, but that's probably why it's so effective.

As for the restoration, this has had a very similar treatment to previous titles from Disney's catalogue. Whilst those released beforehand have all been pre-Xerox era (when all the line art from the animator's paper was inked onto cels, not photocopied in order to save time), this is the first Hi-Def release of the latter more scruffier looking process. As such, you notice many more untidy pencil marks popping on and off the screen around the characters, but it's nice to see the movie has been kept as authentic as possible. It by no means has the same level of detail as the movies between the 40's and 50's, but this is purely down to the type of film stock and the artwork itself - not the transfer.

Colours look nice and almost exactly as I remember them, but as expected from this period, they certainly do not pop off the screen.

5-Stars is a fair score for what is, essentially, a very carefully put together product that perhaps due to Disney's branding system, has been undervalued. Sure, The Aristocats doesn't have the same artistic prowess or powerful storytelling as those movies before it, but it offers bundles of fun and a very loose style that is sure to suit almost any animation fan; young or old. Let's hope 'The Rescuers' arrives soon!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Jul 2012 14:31:04 BDT
yes nice review i am very happy with this aristocats it even has one more special on it than the dvd version whixh i am amzed at going by the loss of specials on tarzan blu ray

just to add fanatasia has 3 commentaries on it including stuff from roy disney and archive recroding of walt disney on it

i was amazed by 3 commentasries all equally interesting

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2012 15:00:07 BDT
Picard says:
Yes the commentaries were fine, but it's standard to have at least one on a Blu-ray DVD, and at least two were carried over from the previous edition of the movie.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2012 14:49:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Aug 2012 14:57:29 BDT
how is it standard to have one at leaat on blu ray pocohintas lost its commentary on blu ray release

also i don reeally know of any diamond blu ray that has less features than aristocats

all the diamond ones are far superioor

most of the stuff on aristocats apart from two things were also on the dvd version

the diamond versions are that as lots of extras

ie some have cine explore not just commentary some have walts story meetings stuff or like alice oin wonderland a companion guide to the book and feautrure

all fantastic expample of what can be done on blu ray re picture in picture or interactivty
beatuy and beats 2 hours documnetary also interactive
and even no diamond like the 70 the anni version of pinocchio has more features than the recent special edistion blu ray sadly the packaging on uk release is wrong and statesx things on there which are not they were on disc 2 of the 70 th release edition but not on last months single disc b ray spcieal edition pincohio

then also dumbo and sleepoing beatuy blu ray both not diamond sas yet both had host of features similar to diamond ie both had cine explore

so diamond is not just some marketing ploy its about saying this film deserves top treatment in terms of copying and also restoring and specials features
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