Picks and Pans Review: The Aristocats

updated 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Forgive the heresy, but you can hold off on rushing to the return of Walt Disney's 1970 full-length animated feature. Here's a seat squirmer for all ages. The plot, about a rich lady who decides to leave her millions to her cats, plays like an adult joke. The animation, the result of 18 months of labor to evoke turn-of-the-century Paris, is too sophisticated. Looks, however impeccable, mean little if the characters don't run lickety-split to your heart as they did in Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi and the last great Disney animation, 1961's 101 Dalmatians. In this film, the felines have none of the zip-a-dee-doo-dah of the canines in 1955's Lady and the Tramp. Eva Gabor does the voice of the Duchess, French mother of three syrupy-cute kittens denied their inheritance by a catnapping butler. Gabor explains all this in a Hungarian accent more goulash than Gallic. No wonder the kids in the audience wage a fidget revolt. But don't blame Uncle Walt. He was dead for four years when the inheritors of his studio tried to prove they could work the same magic without him. Not with The Aristocats they couldn't. Meow. (G)

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