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The Aristocats: Special Edition Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: G
  • Run Time: 78 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 21, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

1970’s The Aristocats was the first animated feature from Disney to be released after the death of founder Walt Disney. Overseen by the “nine old men” the film was a triumphant success erasing doubts that the studio could go on without its leader. Taking a story that, in some respects, was similar to 1955’s Lady and the Tramp, only with cats, The Aristocats follows a high society Parisian cat named Duchess (wonderfully voiced by Eva Gabor) and her three kittens, Berlioz (Dean Clark), Toulouse (Gary Dubin), and Marie (Liz English). Set to inherit a fortune from their owner Madame (Hermione Baddeley), the heiress Duchess and her kittens are kidnapped from their home by Madame’s greedy and jealous butler (Roddy Maude-Roxby) and dropped off in the country where they must find their way back home with the help of the scrappy alley cat O’Malley (Phil Harris). Its story may be somewhat slight and its villain, Butler, the most forgettable in Disney history, but its wonderful charm, jazzy music and star-studded voice cast help make it one of the most enduring of the not-quite-classic Disney catalogue.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

One cannot complain too much about the clean quality of this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement of The Aristocrats from Disney at first glance. There is hardly a hint of dirt, scratches or grain present in the image and the highly personal, fluid, almost rough-looking animation style being employed by Disney during this period as the result of the elimination of animation “clean-up” middlemen is pretty much preserved. However, a closer inspection of The Aristocats on Blu-ray shows that Disney may have been a bit heavy handed with the DNR on this occasion. The grain that barely remains looks somewhat smeared and midrange and background shots tend to look a little bit too soft. In general, there’s too much of an overall “smoothness” to the image here. Most people will probably not mind this at all, but in comparison to some previous (and, most likely, much more extensively restored) older Disney releases, this one is just average. Again, that isn’t to say it’s bad, just not quite what we’ve come to expect.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Sorry purists, there is no original monaural mix offered up here. The main audio track is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) mix that really just bumps up the low frequencies a tad too much, in my opinion, sounding a little boomy during the “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” sequence. There’s a lot of ambience in the surrounds however, but in general, although the mix is clean and dynamic, it never sparkles and sounds just tad on the dull side.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

Here’s where this release really shines offering up some classic extras, individually selectable musical sequences and a bonus Figaro short.

The supplements:

  • Play Movie with On-Screen Lyrics
  • The Lost Open (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:31) – Richard Sherman introduces and narrates a lost/deleted opening sequence from the film that also includes a character that was ultimately removed from the film.
  • “Oui Oui Marie” Music Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:53)
  • Classic Deleted Song: “She Never Felt Alone” (1.33:1; SD; 00:07:56) – Richard Sherman sings and narrates a song from a deleted sequence from the film.
  • Classic Backstage Disney:
    • The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats of Disney Songs (1.33:1; SD; 00:04:24) – The Sherman Brothers talk about composing songs for Disney films and working with Walt.
    • The Great Cat Family (Excerpt) – Original Air Date September 19, 1956 (1.33:1; SD; 00:12:51) – Walt Disney introduces this excerpt from a television show showing Disney animation inspired by cats.
  • Classic Music & More (1.66:1; 1080p/24):
    • “The Aristocats” (00:02:17)
    • “Scales and Arpeggios” (00:01:40)
    • “Thomas O’Malley Cat” (00:02:33)
    • “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” (00:04:21)
  • Classic Bonus Short: “Bath Day” (1.33:1; SD; 00:06:40) – A Walt Disney Figaro short.
  • DVD – Contains a standard DVD release of the film.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Fantastic Disney fun for the whole family comes together in this furry feline package. The Aristocats may not be one of the “official” Disney animated classics, but it is surely one of the favorites from the post-Walt era nonetheless. Recommended for everyone.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase The Aristocats on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B0084IHVC0[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Aristocats on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]


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