Film/Arts/Satire*
(*homocinematically inclined)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Toon Talk: Pussy Footed

The Aristocats, first released in 1970, has the ignominious distinction of being the first full-length animated feature to be produced entirely following the death of Walt Disney. As such, the film is overly cautious in just about every aspect, relying heavily on what worked before. And, in this particular case, what worked before was the previous animated feature, The Jungle Book (the fact that it was also a big box office hit didn’t hurt either).

Working on the theory that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, the Aristo-creators rested on their laurels and/or played it safe. Thus, to accommodate the casting of Jungle’s own Baloo, Phil Harris, we have a stray cat who has apparently strayed far from his American Southern home and, continuing in the tradition of “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You”, here we have “Ev’rybody Wants To Be a Cat” as the jazzy show-stopper (with Scatman Crothers stepping in for Louis Prima). All this is despite the fact that the entire film is set in Paris (don’t get me started on the almost complete lack of French accents). Sure, these factors aren’t too distracting in and of themselves; however, the carrying over of Jungle Book’s laid-back tone is.

Click here to continue reading my full Toon Talk review of the new Special Edition DVD of The Aristocats. LaughingPlace.com also has a recent interview with one of the film's songwriters, Disney Legend Richard Sherman.

Click here to buy The Aristocats: Special Editionon DVD from Amazon.com.

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