We’re back with another Disney+ battle and this week it’s a battle of the cats we compare “The Aristocats” and “The Lion King” to see which is the better film. “The Aristocats” marks the beginning of what is known as a somewhat disappointing era of animation for Disney. Meanwhile, “The Lion King” is often argued as the pinnacle of Disney’s most lucrative era of animation. But how do they compare to each other? Let’s find out.
“The Aristocats” features a family of protagonists. There are the four rich cats of Duchess, Toulouse, Marie and Berlioz as well as the alley cat, Thomas O’Malley. O’Malley drives a lot of the story as he helps the rich cats return to safety after they have been catnapped. Meanwhile, the protagonist of “The Lion King” is Simba, the lion cub who believes he caused his father’s death and runs away but has to return to save his family after his uncle allows their homeland to be destroyed by hyenas. Simba is, without a doubt, the star of his film, while “The Aristocats” sets it up where Duchess and her kittens are supposed to be the stars but O’Malley does much of the work of the star. Point to “The Lion King.”
The Aristocats 0 | The Lion King 1
The villain of “The Aristocats” is Edgar, the butler who doesn’t understand that he is going to be inheriting his employer’s fortune and tries to get rid of the cats so he can get the money he was already going to receive. He may be the worst villain in the Disney canon. In contrast, “Scar” is one of the best. He is the beta male of his pride who wants to be the alpha. He conspires to kill his brother and nephew so he can take over and then when he gets most of what he wants, he takes over and it leads to destruction of the Pride lands. Point to “The Lion King.”
The Aristocats 0 | The Lion King 2
3. SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
This is the strongest category for “The Aristocats”. O’Malley’s fellow alley cats steal the show with their rendition of “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.” Roquefort joins the long line of mice that have stood up as heroes in Walt Disney films. And the geese that help the family get to Paris are some of the funniest birds you’ll see in animation. But “The Lion King” is no slouch in the supporting character department. Timon, Pumbaa and Rafiki are three of the best ever. Nala is a love interest that’s actually stronger than the hero. And Scar’s henchmen hyenas bring some great humor to the film. Point to “The Lion King.”
The Aristocats 0 | The Lion King 3
At first glance, this category is a little unfair. Putting any film up against the films of the Disney Renaissance in a music category is a challenge because all but one of the Renaissance films were musicals. But, unlike others, “The Aristocats” has two certified bangers in “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” and “O’Malley the Alley Cat.” They will stick with you long after the film has ended. Unfortunately, they still aren’t enough to compete with “Circle of Life,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Be Prepared.” Point to “The Lion King.”
The Aristocats 0 | The Lion King 4
5. MEMORABLE MOMENTS
“The Aristocats” is a very memorable film. Edgar catnapping the cats, the dogs chasing Edgar trying to bite him and the motorcycle, O’Malley saving Marie from the river, the geese thinking O’Malley is trying to swim, the alley cats singing “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat,” and O’Malley saving Duchess and her kittens from Edgar’s second attempt all stick out. But this is a bad draw for a Disney film from the 1970s. “The Lion King” has the “Circle of Life,” the elephant graveyard, “Be Prepared,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” the stampede (and all of the traumatized children that came with this one), “Hakuna Matata,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” Rafiki showing Simba that Mufasa lives in him, Timon and Pumbaa dress in drag and do the hula, the final battle between Simba and Scar and the return of the Pride Lands. Point to “The Lion King.”
The Aristocats 0 | The Lion King 5
So, this is a clean sweep for “The Lion King.” It’s not that surprising. It’s been called the pinnacle of the Disney Renaissance if not all of Disney animation. But don’t sleep on “The Aristocats.” It might have lost this battle, but it’s still a great movie you should check out. But I want to know which film do you like better?