I guess after all those dog-heavy movies, Disney needed to address the cat lovers so here comes The AristoCats from 1970.
After another very long title sequence that already suggests this movie is set in France. We open with a horse carriage with a valet and a woman riding in the back. She is holding some parcel. There are also talking cats because the title needed a justification. I also don’t know why I’m even commenting on the fact that they can talk because after 4 decades of animated movies, this should not be of surprise to me. Apparently my brain hasn’t caught up yet. Anyway.
Cut to an old guy arriving in his sports car. He sings and seems rather jolly. He actually behaves a lot like I do while driving around only I’m not 80 years old. He has some trouble getting up the stairs much to the valet’s dismay. Jolly Old Guy is visiting the Lady from before and they talk about her past as an opera singer. Man, Jolly Old Man couldn’t get up the stairs but he can still dance *faceplam*. We learn why he is really there though; to help the Lady do her will.
She wants her cats to be the beneficiaries because that’s a normal thing to do. They are supposed to be taken care of by her valet, whose name is Edgar by the way. He is also overhearing this entire conversation and sulks because he is only second in line AFTER the cats. So of course he has to come up with a plan to get rid of those pesky cats.
Cut to cute kitty time in the salon. We meet the cats again from the beginning, three little ones and their mother who has a very thick French accent. Just as she mentions how well Edgar is taking care of them we are shown him in the kitchen adding sleeping pills to their food. Whelp, so much for that thought.
The kitties practice their artsy skillz, like painting, singing and playing the piano just so we know how classy and cultured these cats are. Edgar enters to deliver the food and they start to devour it. This is the cue for a little mouse to drop in and ask if it can join the festivities. It even has its own cracker and is called Roquefort. Adorbs!
Soon enough they all get sleepy and we cut to Edgar taking them away to the countryside to get rid of them. There he runs into trouble with two dogs and leaves his hat behind. I yawn throughout the entire scene because it’s long and not much happens. I guess, kids think this is really awesome but it was just long and boring to me. #sorrynotsorry
When the cats wake up they realise they’re away from home and sadz for a while. Cut to their owner getting woken up by thunder. She realises her dear cats are gone. Womp, womp. Even Roquefort got woken up and made himself ready to go look for them. This is really cute even though I guess he won’t have much luck with this.
Next morning at the Rover o’ Sadz, the cats get woken up by some Cat!Stud singing about what a stud he is. He also gets his flirt on with The Duchess (who is the kitties mother).
Duchess mentions that they need to get back to Paris. Cat!Stud helps them procure transportation and ends up going with them. He’s such a great cat, even for a stray and they will totally end up together. They use this time for Duchess to reminiscence about her ladyship.
Cut to the stables where Roquefort talks about the latest catnapping news with the horse, Frou-Frou. Edgar comes in to tell Frou-Frou about his criminal mastermind catnapping only to realise he left his hat behind. Womp, womp. Sucks to be you Edgar but actually, I don’t have much empathy for you, you’re a terrible guy.
Back in the car, the driver realises he has a bunch of cats in the back so he shoos them away. So much for an easy way to get back to Paris. They start walking over a railroad bridge and the little ones play train which is absolutely adorable. Of course the fun can’t last too long as an actual train comes and they have to hold onto each other and the bridge for dear life. One of the kitties falls into the river and Cat!Stud goes after it to the rescue. He’s totally getting into the Duchess pants later. #justsaying
Cat!Stud couldn’t get out himself though so he is just drifting downstream, with the others following him on land. Cut to two geese talking and noticing Cat!Stud. They’re British and start criticising his swimming. At least they rescue him in the end where the are all reunited with the rest of the cat gang and introduce each other. The geese sitters get their panties in a twist over the fact that Cat!Stud and Duchess aren’t married or some other BS like that. Anyway they continue their trek back to Paris together.
On their way, they run into the geese’s drunken uncle because they apparently must throw in as many characters as possible to distract us from being light on plot. Whatever. His name is Waldo and I’m bummed because he isn’t wearing anything red/white and striped.
Stable of Criminal Misery, Edgar prepares to leave for the countryside to retrieve his lost hat. He doesn’t notice Roquefort riding along with him in an attempt to help his kitty friends. Only the poor lad doesn’t last long on the motorcycle. In the countryside Edgar runs into the dogs from before and we are treated to an endlessly long scene of him trying to get his hat back. Seriously, it goes on forever.
Cut back to the cats and geese who run into some stray friends from Cat!Stud. They all make music together because it’s there goddamn obligation as characters in a Disney movie. It’s a funky Jazz number. Later Duchess tucks her kids in bed and then flirts with the Stud some more. Only the kitties are watching and get hopeful that they may get a father soon only to get disappointed shortly afterwards. Sucks to be you, right now.
Next day. The cats are finally getting back to the mansion only the cat door is locked. Roquefort is trying to warn them not to go in but of course no one listens to him. Edgar, ever the evil valet, puts them away again. Cat!Stud to the rescue. He ushers Roquefort to alarm his stray cat friends and after a lot of back and forth I can’t bring myself to recap, Edgar is passé and everyone is happy and back where they belong. Of course Cat!Stud is now part of the family. Jolly Old Guy is back once again to update the Diva’s will.
Phew, this was a drag. Sorry. I really tried to like it but I was bored after the first 15 minutes already and it hardly got any better. This one was like a mix of Lady and the Tramp with 101 Dalmatians only with cats instead of dogs. I understand that this is a kids movie and plot isn’t all that important but there wasn’t anything new or exciting about it. There were so many random characters thrown in here I lost track and interest in.
It seems to me that Disney had to come up with something cat related after all the dog movies and this was all they could come up with. It was interesting to see that it’s also set in Europe but unlike the dog movies, we find us in Paris instead of London.
Overall, this is a ‘watched it, no need to see it again’ film for me.