The Fox and the Hound / The Fox and the Hound II (Blu-ray)
“I’m a Hound Dog” (said in a childlike rasp with a stuffy nose) is a fantastic line that is forever repeatable from its cuteness. Unfortunately, that is about the only positive thing I have to say about THE FOX AND THE HOUND. No wonder that clip is the first thing people remember when thinking of the film, as it is the only thing remotely memorable.
A nice old woman finds a baby fox that has lost his mother. The compassionate old lady names the cute little fox Todd and takes him in as her own. Todd meets the neighbor pup named Copper who so proudly and adorably proclaims, “I’m a Hound Dog.” They become friends but sadly Copper is being trained by his crazy old owner who is teaching him how to hunt fox and other forest creatures. Will the fox and the hound sustain their unlikely friendship against the odds of what the world expects from them?
I have seen nearly all the Disney films growing up but for some reason this one escaped me. So I admit that I have no childhood attachment to THE FOX AND THE HOUND. Before I get any hate mail bashing your beloved childhood picture, I challenge you to revisit and look at what you are watching. Compare it to other favorite Disney films that followed like THE LITTLE MERMAID or even ones well before like CINDERELLA. THE FOX AND THE HOUND has no place belonging in the same sentence as these classics. I expect more from Disney because they have created that expectation.
My first problem is that the writing is terribly lazy. The reasons and motives for any action a character makes have zero correlation to logic or understanding. No one responds as they should and seem to react strictly to create an obstacle. But the biggest problem is that Disney set up an interesting situation where two animals lifestyles prevent them from being friends, however instead of choosing an interesting parallel about how we are different, the film villainizes Copper’s side and his hunting lifestyle.
I understand this is a kid’s movie so maybe those themes aren’t warranted for such critical scrutiny. The real question is, does the film entertain? Sadly no. The supporting characters feel weak in their originality and humor while most of them sound like Winnie The Pooh characters. It’s very disorienting when they sound like them but don’t look like them. Furthermore, absolutely none of the music or songs give any resemblance of a lasting impression. All the songs are sang by one character, an owl named Big Mama, and all are ballads. The film would have benefited from at least one up-tempo tune that creates an atmosphere of fun and joy. Instead they all had a drawl of sadness and boredom.
THE FOX AND THE HOUND II takes place during a time while Todd and Copper were still young and newly formed best friends. Todd helps Copper join a singing dog act at a carnival. As Copper excels in the band he begins to neglect his friend Todd who got him there. The film actually takes the poor song issue from the first movie and turns it around completely. Nearly every song is up beat and memorably sang by Patrick Swayze and Reba McEntire as two older stray dogs with dreams of being famous singers.
While the animation is obviously newer and cleaner in the sequel, it has a Saturday morning cartoon vibe, dealing with a lot lighter issues that never quite have the impending turmoil from the original. I appreciate some of the striking imagery of the danger scenes from THE FOX AND THE HOUND using fire and a ferocious bear along with the theme of friendship. However, with a running time of under an hour and a half for each film, both of these lack the sophistication seen in nearly any other Disney film.
Video: (1080p High Definition/ 1.66:1 The Fox And The Hound/ 1.78:1 The Fox And The Hound II) The animation from the first has a classic style using warm colors while the second is a bit more vibrant but has a stiff simplified image.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) The sound is alright right however there isn’t much worth listening to. The first film is still fairly muted in sound while the second film utilizes the music aspect better.
Unlikely Friends (7:25): This is a cute little fact or fiction game teaching us about real life unlikely animals pairings like cats and dogs, mouse and cats, birds and cats, zebra and ostrich and hippo and tortoise.
DVD’s with Special Editions: The Blu-ray also includes both films on DVD with additional Bonus Special Features that for some reason were not put on the Blu-ray disc. They include some music videos and making of featurettes.