Before the whole CG and 3D animated boom happened, Disney was king of the hill when it comes to full-length 2D animated films. Unfortunately, Disney hasn’t been as aggressive as they should be when it comes to re-releasing their classic 2D titles on Blu-Ray. There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but chief among them is practicality, as the amount of time and effort a studio needs in restoring and remastering said classics would not be practical in terms of cost. The alternative is to release a shoddy, aged product, which isn’t good business either.
Apparently, last August 21 saw the house of mouse taking one for the team and re-releasing a fully remastered Blu Ray version of their classic 1970 animated film, The Aristocats, which may seem like an odd choice as it didn’t have as big a following as their other classics, but it is a good movie even if it doesn’t follow their usual formula. For instance, instead of a fairy tale adaptation or a family-friendly action adventure, it’s a jazz-infused, nimble-footed excursion featuring cats.
The Aristocats features the pet cats of famous opera star and wealthy socialite Adelaide Bonfamille, who has just passed away while leaving her massive fortune to said spoiled pets: Duchess (Eva Gabor), Toulouse (Gary Dubin), Berlioz (Dean Clark), and Marie (Liz English). Enter butler Edgar, who decides to get rid of the cats so that he can take the money for himself. His plan was to kidnap the cats and drown them in the river. Fortunately, the cats managed to escape from the butler’s clutches – unfortunately, they did so miles away from their Parisian villa. Lost in the French countryside with only their survival instincts (which have been dulled by their pampered upbringing), the felines get the help of a few new companions as they try to make their way back home.
Of course, even with the remastered video and audio, the Blu Ray disc it comes in will be wasted if The Aristocats didn’t have a ton of extras:
The Lost Open (HD, 10 minutes): Aristocats songwriter Richard M. Sherman introduces a storyboarded deleted scene that features a cut character and song. The demo included has temp voices — Sherman as Edgar and his brother Robert as a maid named Elvira — making it particularly amusing.
The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats of Disney Songs (SD, 4 minutes): An overview of the Shermans’ contributions to The Aristocats and the process behind writing and storyboarding for an animated feature.
Deleted Song (SD, 8 minutes): A second deleted song, “She Never Felt Alone.”
Movie with On-Screen Lyrics (HD): Sing along with The Aristocats with this on-screen track.
Classic Song Selection (HD, 11 minutes): Four sing-along songs from the film.
Music Video (HD, 2 minutes): “Oui Oui Marie,” a skipping-record Aristocats remix by D!tto.
1956 Animated Special Excerpt (SD, 13 minutes): “The Great Cat Family,” hosted by Walt Disney.
Bonus Short (HD, 7 minutes): “Bath Day,” a Walt Disney animated short featuring Minnie Mouse and Figaro.
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.67:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.75:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
Slipcover in original pressing