I come bearing some sad news: today is the final day of the Ultimate 70s Blogathon. But don’t fret, we had a good run. Earlier, Kim shared my review of Dirty Harry, my second and final review of the blogathon. Now it’s my turn to share Kim’s closing reviews. Every Ultimate Decades Blogathon we’ve hosted, Kim has included some sort of look at some of the Disney feature films to come out that decade. This blogathon is no different. She’s wrapping up this blogathon with reviews of The Aristocats and Pete’s Dragon.
The 1970s for Disney was a pretty solid decade filled with titles like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Robin Hood and The Rescuers along with today’s double feature, The Aristocats and Pete’s Dragon. To celebrate the 70s, I decided to choose one of my favorite Disney films, The Aristocats which I’ve seen many times over and might explain my excessive love for cats. Followed with a first time viewing of Pete’s Dragon, a movie that has enough love to be rebooted last year.
The Aristocats (1970)
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Voice Cast: Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Dean Clark, Liz English, Gary Dubin, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers
With the help of a smooth talking tomcat, a family of Parisian felines set to inherit a fortune from their owner try to make it back home after a jealous butler kidnaps them and leaves them in the country. – IMDB
To be honest, The Aristocats’ story feels a little like a mash-up of a few other Disney stories, like 101 Dalmatians with their kidnapping and abandoned to Lady and the Tramp with O’Malley being a smooth talking tomcat opposite a well-taught and elegant cat, Duchess. Of course, you can also credit some similarities of the puppy cuteness from 101 Dalmatians to the kitten cuteness with Duchess’ little ones, Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse. With a Parisian backdrop and a nice variety in the music style, the main cast itself carries some banter and some silly moments with a bunch of funny characters along their feline journey home. It’s kind of a road trip film but animated and with cats if you think about it a little bit more.
While I think the characters a ton of fun to watch and incredibly funny, the best part of The Aristocats is its soundtrack. Be it a Parisian opening and Madam dancing to a classic opera piece like Carmen to the fun and education music lesson with Duchess and the kitchens playing a rough piano version of Scales and Arpeggios and to one of the most catchy and maybe because of the jazzy song of the film, Everybody Want To Be A Cat. The soundtrack here is a lot of fun to listen to and it’s not song after song particularly but finds a nice balance between story and musical segments.
If you like cats and catchy music, The Aristocats is a really nice 70s animated Disney feature film that fits the bill. The Aristocats is one of those films which carries a lot of cute and unique characters that packs in a lot of fun and entertaining moments. I loved it when I was younger and still enjoy it today.
Pete’s Dragon (1977)
Director: Don Chaffey
Cast: Sean Marshall, Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters
An orphan boy and his magical dragon come to town with his abusive adoptive parents in pursuit. – IMDB
Mary Poppins opened up a world of blending animated characters with real characters and to be fair, there’s a few segments in Pete’s Dragon that calls back to it, particularly the song and dance of I Saw A Dragon which has somewhat of a Chim Chiminey where the bar replaces the rooftop choreography. Its amazing how its taken so long to catch up with Pete’s Dragon and really not know too much about it. Pete’s Dragon is a fun little adventurous tale filled with friendship, family and packs in a decent amount of laughs and emotions, along with a lot of nice musical pieces.
Being a fan of Mary Poppins, the appeal of Pete’s Dragon struck me almost instantaneously especially when Pete’s Dragon, Elliott is around quite a bit and he is designed fairly friendly with tuffs of pink hair and wings contrasting with this green body which actually makes Elliott one of the most charming parts. Pete and Elliott’s friendship is an odd one and its also why for a good part of the film, no one actually believed him and took Elliott as something of an imaginary friend sort of deal, which of course, it wasn’t. In fact, Elliott actually parallels a little like Mary Poppins instead he is a dragon that helps kids in need and then moves on when his job is done. Which is pretty much what Mary Poppins does but she is much more there. Drawing comparisons to Mary Poppins a lot here because there was a strong sense of similarities between the two, however, being similar to Mary Poppins is a not a bad thing, in fact, its what makes Pete’s Dragon so much fun to watch.
Pete’s Dragon is filled with musical segments. It definitely has a lot of really catchy songs. Some energetic and others soothing to listen to but all in all, rather positive messages all around. In fact, I’d like to think that Pete’s Dragon takes a look at finding a place to belong and not losing hope for a better tomorrow. Its a hopeful film and one that teaches a lot about friendship and just emotions in general as Pete leaves for the big world and faces the situations no matter how scared he actually is about not finding someplace to be and what to expect next. And that is essentially what makes Pete’s Dragon a nice little family film.
And that’s it! The final reviews of the blogathon. Come by tomorrow for a summary of the blogathon and closing remarks from your hosts.
If you’ve missed any of the entries, you can find a list of them all here.