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The Fox and the Hound

Posted : 2 years, 1 month ago on 16 November 2015 02:53

There’s a visible tension here between the older generation, who either left after this film’s release or mid-production, and the younger generation, who wanted to expand what a Disney film could be. The Fox and the Hound works best when it leans in on the melancholy and sadness that comes with growing up, with the intrusion of social orders and loss of innocence, but it only deals with these matters half of the time.

 

Much like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Fox and the Hound is stuck halfway between an exciting shake-up of a tired formula, and a strict adherence to said formula. That Bond entry came into mind, for some unknown reason, as a comparable bit of franchise film-making that both dares to be different, and yet scares itself away from entirely breaking the mold. You see, the earliest parts of The Fox and the Hound, and the climax, are the best parts because they float by with an air of sadness and inevitable gloom.

 

Read into the conflict what you will – racial prejudice, class conflict, hell, even sexuality – since it’s vague enough to be about anything that makes us different, and is used to keep us apart. The idealistic friendship is sweet and cute, playful and alive with the innocence of that part of your life before you’re made aware of the wider social structures at play.

 

And then we hit the flabby second act which breaks the two of them apart, and proceeds to play out like warmed over bits of Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, and other well-known films. Tod, the fox, engaging in a romantic side-story is completely unneeded, and it’s frankly a waste of time and distraction from the main thrust of the conflict. It’s too cutesy. This saccharine development stands in stark contrast to the ways in which the numerous animals are animated more realistically than before, including the climactic battle with the ferocious bear. No adorable little Bongo critters in this forest, those days are gone.

 

Once again, we have a Disney film with a fake-out death. Now, I’ve gone on the record as stating that Trusty should have died in Lady and the Tramp, and the same holds true here. Showing a character getting hit dead-on by a train, only to show that same character alive with only a broken leg later is just….questionable story-telling, at best. Disney’s fear of death seems to strike mostly older male characters, as evidenced by the opening of this film, and Bambi’s traumatizing plot point, they have no problem killing off mothers.

 

Another problem is the musical score. This is a return to the musical films that Disney specialized in, and the score stinks. Only Pearl Bailey manages to sell her material, which is lackluster and generally unmemorable. Bailey was an iconic force of nature, so she makes "Best of Friends" sound like a classic through sheer gusto. One can sense that the old guard wanted to include these moments, along with the distracting film-long gag involving two birds and a caterpillar that just isn’t funny, while the younger generation wanted to push for the quieter, somber tone. The younger generation’s instincts were correct.

 

If they had been allowed freer reign over The Fox and the Hound, I think I would be loudly proclaiming it as a forgotten masterpiece. And, truth be told, tiny fragments of it are. The scene of Tod’s abandonment in the forest is devastating, and the dissolve of the central friendship is heartbreaking. I remember avoiding this one as a child because it made me too sad. Coming back to it as an adult, I feel the inevitability of life crushing their sweet youth. Too much of it is recycled formula, but the parts that linger are the delicate emotional notes it strikes.



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Very Cute Story & Characters

Posted : 4 years, 4 months ago on 17 August 2013 08:58

Made in an era of animation before cartoons were watered down and robbed of their joy, emotion, and scariness (not including Pixar- we love you,) "The Fox and the Hound" is a great pick for the whole family. Set in a seemingly idyllic, 20th Century woodland environment, it chronicles, with love, tears, and laughter, the friendship between an orphaned fox and a adorable hound dog.

This forest home is not so idyllic if you're a fox like Tod (voiced by Kieth Coogan as a youngster and Mickey Rooney as a grown-up), who loses his mother to fanatical game hunter Amos Slade (voiced by Jack Albertson) and is adopted by the big-hearted Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan), who turns him into a docile house pet.

It is in these happy days that Tod meets Copper (voiced by Corey Feldman as a pup and Kurt Russell a a adult dog), a blood hound puppy who is the newfound property of Amos. Too happy and naive to know they're not supposed to be friends, Tod and Copper play together for a couple of heart warming scenes until reality sets in.

This wake-up call intrudes when Amos takes Copper and his old dog Chief (Pat Buttram) on a long hunting trip, which lasts them from Copper's puppyhood to the time when Copper is almost grown. Torn between his friendship with Tod and his desire to please his master, Copper finds himself at an impasse which leads to an emotional finale.

I'm not ashamed to say that I cried... a lot at the moments of sentiment in this animated tale. I'm told that I tried to watch this as a young child, only to go ballistic about five minutes in when Tod's mother is chased by dumb ol' Amos Slade with his hunting dog and his shotgun. Of course, I cried if it started to rain in a video, so don't compare the reactions of your youngsters with mine.

I think the characters of the stuttering bird and his pal would just as well have been absent. I also felt the romantic subplot was too predictable. The song Big Mama the maternal owl (Pearl Bailey) sings, "The Best of Friends," was heart-wrenching and effective, but the other songs were pretty forgettable.

Besides Copper and Tod, I liked Widow Tweed best (like a grandmother everyone should have) and Chief, Slade's ornery old hunting dog, because he reminded me of my old rottie mix Elissa. The typical "Disney" humor (i.e. slapstick) didn't always fit the somber plot, but there should be fun hijinks for the kiddies as well as high drama.

"The Fox and the Hound" is one of the few classic Disney movies I'd watch for my own enjoyment, or when I'm accompanied by a child (y'know, when "The Human Centipede" or it's sequel just won't do.) My sister loves foxes, so she couldn't get enough of Tod, and I wanted to pinch the flaps on Copper's unfortunately-animated wrinkly face. So long and happy watching!


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They get along better than me and this movie

Posted : 4 years, 11 months ago on 30 December 2012 10:47

As a kid, I remember watching The Fox and the Hound, and for some reason, being somewhat bored by it. Don't get me wrong, this is nowhere near Disney's worst. I admire the friendship message in the first half of the movie, but it's all for naught in the second half. Not to mention that in the original book, Tod and Copper weren't even friends, but hey, at least they didn't die at the end of the film. Despite a pretty good cast and a couple of cute moments, I still thought that this movie was boring and depressing half the time.

Rating: 5/10


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An average movie

Posted : 5 years, 5 months ago on 1 July 2012 02:08

For quite some time, I have been watching again all the Disney classics and the last one I needed to watch was this one. I think I saw it when I was a kid but, while watching the damned thing, I couldn't remember it at all. Honestly, it is obviously one of the weakest Disney productions and, in my opinion, it is basically a weaker version of Bambi. Still, it is far from being a bad movie. Indeed, the animation, though not mind-blowing, was pretty decent and the fox and the dog were really cute when they were young. It was also something very sweet to see this dog and this fox becoming best friends, when in fact, they should be enemies. However, like many other Disney animated features, it deals with some talking animals which is maybe neat for the (very) young children but it is pretty tedious for the grown-ups, at least, in my opinion. When you think about it, the material was actually pretty dark and it had more potential. Basically, it has always been a weakness from Disney, the fact that their movies always play it safe when they could be much more challenging and interesting. Still, it remains a well made and decent animated feature and it is worth a look, especially if you like the genre.


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