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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: VHS Tape|Change
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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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on 19 February 2008
I purchased this copy to replace my current copy of the original dvd release.
Please be aware that this version has not been "Digitaly restored". They claim "Digital Transfer", but I could still see film spots etc, which are removed in a "restoration" i.e. the quality was not as good as it is when they restore.
They have also converted the movie into Widescreen format using Pan and Scan.
If you are interested in the animation side of the movie, then you will find lots of original detail missing as the top and bottom are chopped off.
If you just want the movie to fill the whole screen, then this is the dvd version for you.
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on 3 January 2010
This is undoubtably one of the best films Disney has ever made! The characters are brilliant and the songs are memorable. 10/10 and suitable for any age. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I would advise you do so right now!! You won't regret it!!!
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on 30 September 2012
Lets get the boring tech stuff out of the way.... this was filmed in full frame negative but the intended ratio was 1.78:1 which means if you had the 4:3 VHS then lucky you, you saw more top and bottom than people did in 1970 at the cinema. SO , this widescreen transfer is the cinema aspect and is perfect. The audio in HD is sublime. This is the easiest 5 stars I have ever given a film. RECOMMENDED HIGHLY !!!!
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on 3 August 2004
Good hearted Disney film suitable for the smallest kids- my little 2 year old loves watching her 'Miaou-miaous'.
On the other hand it's quite amusing with some adult humour thrown in for 'grown-ups'.
It has the usual loveable characters too- even the baddy (Edgar the butler) isn't REALLY bad (just greedy). Phil Harris (Thomas O'Malley) plays his usual likeable part, and there's Scatman Crothers (Scat Cat) as well!
Charming animation, stylish and 'artistic' (not 'unfinished & sloppy' as some have moaned). Not the usual 'Disney feel' as it's in line with a French style and elegence. The backgrounds are particularly good. Apparently this was the last film to get the 'nod' from Disney himself and it was directed by the Disney regular Wolfgang Reitherman (Jungle book, The Rescuers, 101 Dalmations).
Not as many songs as some other Disney films, but at 1hr 15mins what do you expect?
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on 29 September 2011
I'm so disappointed with this item it's going straight to the charity shop. It's basically a con. All Disney has done, in an attempt to take more money, is to crop and stretch the 4:3 version into 16:9. It gives the entire file the wrong feeling. All through you just know the original animators just wouldn't have allowed it to be released like that. The most irksome thing is people's hats and heads being cut off; in one scene one of the cats is not even on the screen having been cropped out from the top of the display! Surely there must be a Cinema Scope release they could have used to give a genuine wide screen release and not a faux widescreen release torn from the original DVD release, cheap skates. It should be made clear on the box when films have simple been cropped to give them the appearance of widescreen.
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on 15 December 2009
I thank Amazon for their speedy delivery of this film. It is one of my favorites and I know my Grandchildren will also enjoy it as part of their christmas box.
This film is timeless and has so many songs in it that are easy to sing along with once you have watched the film a few times, as I have you will love it too. I found that it doesn't matter how many time I watch it there is always something to make me laugh in it. I loved the butler (he is very naughty).
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on 1 April 2017
It's a classic. I had fond memories of watching this when I was younger, and I'm happy to say it's still timeless. You can't beat the hand drawn animation of those days. The characters are marvelous, the music superb and the story as old as life :)). Loved it and would so totally recommend!
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on 9 January 2017
Another Disney classic for my daughters collection, it's another ok film for me, not their best work I don't think but for the age of the film and considering that alone, it will always remain a Disney Classic
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on 17 April 2017
Personally one of my favourites and incredibly underrated. I love France so the setting is beautiful, the score is fantastic, the characters are well thought out and the animation is sublimely executed. Plus it's got Phil Harris as the lovable rogue Thomas O'Mally, you know Baloo the bear and Little Jon. Buy it!
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