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The Fox And The Hound (1981)

Two friends that didn’t know they were supposed to be enemies

Directed by:

Ted Berman & Richard Rich

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 83 minutes

UK Certificate: U

On DVD

Country: United States

Though Disney are these days intent on slapping the “Classics” tag on seemingly everything they produce, ‘The Fox and the Hound’ doesn’t really fit the bill. It’s memorable predominantly because it marked a behind-the-scenes watershed between old faces and new staff at Walt’s place, rather than any great examples of animation or story-telling.

Many of the good folks who went on to create vastly-superior flicks such as ‘Aladdin’, Beauty & the Beast and The Little Mermaid used this one as their launch-pad, which is something you’ll be able to hear a lot more about if you watch the featurette on the DVD. In fact, it’s probably a more interesting story than the film itself – for us boring grown-ups, at least.

It’s a straight-forward enough story. Tod, an orphaned fox cub, becomes best of chums with Copper, a local dog pup. The only trouble is the dog just happens to be nothin’ but a hound dog, and after going away with his master for the hunting season, comes back a trained killer. So their friendship, as tends to be the case when one half repeatedly tries to rip open the other half’s throat, starts to become a little strained.

Based on a book by Daniel P. Mannix, it’s a decent premise but really too lightweight to carry an entire feature-length episode. There’s never any real sense of getting to know the characters, with their over-riding cutesy-ness really the only reason we’re ever given to care about them. The animation on show is of reasonable enough standard but, like pretty much everything about the film, it’s nothing spectacular.

It does, interestingly enough, have several differences from your average Disney flick – most notably that there’s no true villain or any sort of magical or fantastical intervention. But it all makes for a fairly boring escapade, which only the youngest of kids are likely to get much enjoyment out of. If it’s entertainment for the whole family you’re after, stick with ‘The Lion King’.

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It's Got: A typically impressive array of voice-over talents, including Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell and a 10-year-old Corey Feldman.

It Needs: To dump the distinctly tuneless sing-a-long numbers. Only the one instance of get-away music saves the score from complete failure!

DVD Extras A half-decent featurette titled ‘Pass the Baton’, a below-par ‘Best of Friends’ sing-a-long section, and a stills scrapbook. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Summary

An inoffensive but also largely unimpressive woodland adventure. Strictly for the little ‘uns.

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