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Featured Blu-ray Review: The Aristocats

August 18th, 2012

The Aristocats - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

The Aristocats is part of a flood of Disney animated films to come out on Blu-ray this week. And I mean flood. There are seven films on five discs that I'm reviewing. Fortunately, for my sanity, I've reviewed this film in the past, so I can concentrate on the extras and the technical specifications. So are there any new extras? And how does it look and sound in high definition?

The Movie

The film focuses on a cat, Duchess, and her three kittens, Marie, Berlioz, and Toulouse. They are owned by Madame Adelaide Bonfamille, a rich retired opera singer and are looked after by Edgar, her butler. Madame Adelaide writes in her will that her cats are to inherit all of her wealth after she dies, but that Edgar will continue to look after them. Edgar instead decides to get rid of the cats, because he is incredibly, incredibly... incredibly stupid. Seriously, this plan is counter-productive. If the cats disappear before Madame Adelaide dies, she's unlikely to turn around and give the money to him right away. She's more likely to give the money away to an animal shelter, or something to that effect. ... He's stupid. Anyhow, he gathers up the cats and throws them away in the country, where they meet Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley. Thomas O'Malley is a country tom cat, and agrees to help the city cats back to their home, and along the way, Duchess and Thomas O'Malley fall in love.

As I said last time, The Aristocats is a good movie, but not a great movie. The story is simplistic and even at just 78 minutes long, it feels padded. The animation isn't as technically proficient as the classics either. That said, the voice actors are great, and there are a number of songs that are really good. It is worth checking out and for many, it will be worth owning.

The Extras

There are only a couple new extras on the Blu-ray, The Lost Open and Oui Oui Marie. The first is a nearly 10-minute long featurette with Richard M. Sherman talking about a deleted opening with a deleted character, a maid, Elvira, and two deleted songs. He narrates the opening as we look at storyboards and then we hear archival recordings of the two songs. Oui Oui Marie is an autotuned song created from re-mixing some of the dialogue from the movie. All of the old extras are ported over (songs, featurette, short film, etc.), except for the two interactive features.

As for the technical presentation, the film looks great. The colors are vibrant, the details are good, some of the pencil strokes are still there, but less noticeable. There's no compression issues or artifacts here. It is an incredible step up from the DVD. The audio is nearly as strong. The film was originally made in mono, so there's not a lot of activity in the surround sound speakers, but there's enough to not seem bare. The clarity is strong, which is impressive for a film that is more than 40 years old, and very important as the film has a lot of great music. Speaking of which, the music has a lot of power behind it and it is the highlight of the disc.

Finally we get to the price, which is $23, and that's after Amazon.com's discount. That's a little much for a catalogue title without much in the way of new extras. It's not a deal-breaking, but it does dampen my enthusiasm.

The Verdict

The Aristocats is not a classic film, but it is solid nonetheless. The Blu-ray doesn't have a lot of new extras, but it does look and sound much better than the DVD. Does that make it worth $23 for the upgrade? I'm not entirely sure it does. It is not ridiculous either.


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