Movie 24: Fox and the Hound

poster vintageAnyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for a sentimental tale about romance and friendship.  I have been known to snuggle up to the 25 days of Christmas on Hallmark and whatever syrupy story is coming out of ABC Family.

That said, Fox and the Hound lays it on almost too thick even for me.  One thing is for sure if you are at all averse to that kind of message you will hate the movie.  As for me, I liked it but it bore on me after a while.

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Production-

Released in 1981 (year I was born!) The Fox and the Hound had a very dramatic time in production (took 4 years and 12 million).  Based on a novel by Daniel P Mannix, it was initially started by the legendary 9 Old Men of animators with Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson, in particular, taking the lead in the early storyboarding and concept development.

However, at the same time Disney had a school of animators and such big names as John Lasseter, Tim Burton (who knew right?), John Musker, Ron Clements and Brad Bird all had graduated and began work on the Fox and the Hound.

Don Bluth, who had been a part of Disney animation since Sleeping Beauty,  led a contingent that felt Disney had ‘grown stale’ and wanted to do edgier things with the material.  Mid-production Bluth quit and took 11 animators with him, 17% of Disney’s staff.  I’m sorry but to me that is just wrong.  Finish out the project and then severe ties.  I mean can you imagine someone doing that on a regular motion picture?  Like if Brad Pitt and Christopher Nolan didn’t get along or agree with the direction of the movie so they just bolted?

What makes it worse is then Bluth went on to be a competitor to Disney.  Early on Bluth’s movies were stiff competition to Disney with Secret of Nimh (1982), An American Tale (1986) and Land Before Time (1988).  To be fair this competition I believe made Disney better and led to the renaissance but it was still a dirty move to leave mid-project and take animators with him.

This change in leadership led to a few rocky moments in Fox and the Hound such as the bear attack that feel disjointed and episodic which is to be expected since the film was  probably drawn and conceptualized in episodes by different men.

However, at least the animation is gorgeous.  It was getting close to the art pieces of the 30’s and 40’s and I enjoyed Fox and the Hound on that level very much.

Look at this intro.  For a second I thought it was the beginning of Bambi.

The voice cast is very strong with everyone from Kurt Rusell (Copper), Mickey Rooney (Tod), Pearl Bailey (Big Mama), Paul Winchell (from Tigger fame as Boomer) and more.  Everyone does a good job with the voices although at times it was a little distracting because I kept thinking of Tigger when I’d hear Winchell’s voice.

The music is a mixed bag.  It’s not that it is bad.  It’s fine and the score by Jim Stafford is great.  The strange thing  is most of the songs don’t really feel like songs at all.  It feels like the songs start and then get interrupted by talking or activity. It’s a shame in a way because I liked the songs if I could have heard them all the way through.  I wonder if they were just over time at 83 minutes so cut down the songs?

The movie opened to mixed reviews but it made 63 million at box office.

Story-

Kind of like with Lady and the Tramp the beginning we get to meet baby Tod and baby Copper and they are uber-cute.

copper littlebaby todCopper is owned by Amos and Tod is adopted by the Widow Tweed.   It’s interesting because there are no children in this film.  All older adults.

amos and widowThere are an array of side characters including Big Mama owl, Boomer (woodpecker) and Dinky (canary), and Chief who is owned by Amos.

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Tod and Copper meet when they are too little to know that foxes and dogs are enemies and hunt each other.  Like I said, if this kind of sentimentality makes you roll your eyes and groan this is not the movie for you.

One day when trying to play,Chief see’s Tod and chases him off the property, which angers Amos,and he shoots at and threatens Tod and the Widow.  As a result, she keeps him inside but it doesn’t matter because Amos is taking Copper away for a winter hunting trip.

Our next scene is Tod and Copper all grown up.  Copper knows how to hunt and he tells Tod they can’ t be friends any more.

tod-copper

In between these tense scenes we get some comic relief from Boomer and Dinky as the chase a caterpillar.

Tod and Copper end up getting involved in a scuffle involving a train that injures Chief. The segment with the train is very well animated.

Feeling that Tod has injured Chief Copper vows revenge and he and Amos chase Tod and the Widow in a fun car scene.

Eventually the Widow decides it is for Tod’s own good to take him to back to the woods.  I don’t mean to be harsh but she sing/talks one of the worst poems I have ever heard (and I know poetry pretty well). It’s discount greeting card bad.

“We met it seems, such a short time ago.
You looked at me, needing me so.
Yet from your sadness, our happiness grew.
Then I found out, I need you, too.
I remember how we used to play.
I recall those rainy days, the fires glowed, that kept us warm.
And now I find, we’re both alone.
Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end.
But in my heart’s a memory, and there you’ll always be.

I mean yikes…

So Tod is forced to make it on his own in the forest.  He meets a mean badger and then finds a friend in a porcupine played by John Fielder of Piglet fame.  Then we meet my least favorite character in the movie.  One of the worst in all of Disney- Vixey the female fox or vixen (clever name there…).

vixey

Voiced by Sandy Duncan, Vixey is the cooing, fawning, giggling, idiot female character I hate in Disney.  And of course we get the instant love trope like we do in every Disney movie but this one is one of the worst for sure.  Why couldn’t it have been like in the Lion King where they meet in some way as little foxes and then meet up again later?  Or anything but the instant love twitterpated scene from Bambi all over again…She reminds me of an idiotic Michael Bay woman in fox form.

What makes it worse is that Tod behaves like kind of a pompous moron when they meet but one song from Big Mama and she’s back on board the ‘oh well. He’s so pretty…’ train.  Urgh…At least in this movie we have Big Mama and the Widow but seriously why does every other Disney woman have to be a complete twit? Thank you Renaissance for changing that at least a little.

Moving on.

Amos decides to set traps and Tod and Vixen come upon them.  That leads to a chase with the climatic bear scene.  It is an amazingly animated scene but for a movie that has been kindergarten aged friendly the bear is too scary.  My nieces all bolted at the bear in Brave, and I know they would be terrified of the bear here too.

 

Tod eventually comes to Copper’s defense so when Amos is about to shoot Tod, Copper steps in, the two realizing they really are friends at heart.

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We get an ending back at the farms where all is back to normal and Copper thinks about those early days and we hear the voice over ‘Tod, you’re my best friend’…

Conclusion/Movie Review-

Another mixed bag for me, and I think recommending the picture entirely depends on the type of movie-goer you are.  If you don’t mind the ooey-gooey messages laid on very thick than you will eat this up! I went with it for most of the way.  It eventually wore me a down a little bit and I HATED Vixey character just as much as about any character in Disney ever.

There are a lot of good messages for kids but the bear scene is very scary (and the train fight too).  I guess it just depends on the kid in question.  Like I said, I know it would be too much for at least my youngest niece.  And it is kind of a long scene so if you fast forward it you are missing story and a lot of the movie (plus, it is animated very well).

It was so nice to see animation from Disney that looked pretty.  For once I am liking a Disney movie more for the animation than the music and story.  That hasn’t happened since Bambi!

It is not up there with the greats.  I’d put it smack in the middle of Disney films.  It’s not terrible.  It has a nice message.  The comedic scenes work and the action is good.  So if you can handle the script you will probably like it!

Overall Grade- C+

48 thoughts on “Movie 24: Fox and the Hound

  1. Good review! I enjoy this movie, although it may be because of nostalgia.

    You’re probably the only woman I know who disliked the poem that Widow Tweed recites. Every other woman says it’s a big tearjerker scene or something like that.

    Vixen doesn’t bother me at all. I mean, I don’t think she has any bad qualities: idiocy, arrogance, etc. I guess I’m just not much of a feminist.

    Just wondering, have you seen the entire Disney Canon before this project? If not, which ones have you NOT seen before this project? Or which ones HAVE you seen before this project, if this is easier to answer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great comment! What can I say I’m a one of a kind woman!😉 I love poetry and I even like sentimental poetry but it was just too much. I still liked the movie too despite the syrupy storytelling but it would rank in the middle for me.

      As far as feminism goes I’m not hard core but I just hate the bat the eye lashes, think everything a man says is brilliant kind of female character. Someone who is there only as a love interest and has no other value to the story. The instant love trope I hate as it almost always creates boring, stupid women, and men who behave stupidly for said women with no real reason but je saw her and she was pretty. Gag me! Even beautiful women can have some personality like Jessica Rabbit in WFRR is a sexpot but she is also interesting. She loves Roger. She makes choices and mistakes. She feels sad and happy. She isn’t just there for the male character to oogle and love. Lady and The Tramp is a good example of creating both female and male characters that have growth, personality, spunk, and have real conversations. She’s not in love with Tramp first time she see’s him and neither is he. This makes the romance work so much better and it makes for a better movie because you have more than just men doing the growing.

      There are so many movies (not just Disney) where the male character does all the growing, changing and makes all of the choices. Vixey was one of the worst IMO. Tod is kind of acting like a twit, showing off and talking back to her. She’s about to leave and Big Mama sings a song about how they should be attracted to each other (why? Because as the song says ‘you have a natural attraction so you deserve a reaction’. Urgh) and literally Vixey bats her eyes at the hunky Tod… I find that frustrating from a character, story and messaging for girls problem.

      This isn’t a problem with just Disney- although they do the instant love trope more than live action. There is this thing called the Bechdel test where you see if a movie has 2 named female characters that have a conversation that isn’t about a man. You would be shocked how many movies fail that test. I’m going to go through and see what Disney films pass it, or at least pass it so far. Oh well. I guess it can seem nitpicking but got to be honest with my responses and things that bother me. Either way Ariel, Jasmine, Belle can’t come soon enough!

      (sorry for the bit of a rant. Just trying to explain why some things annoy me).

      I also think it is why me and so many other people loved Frozen so much. To have 2 fully fleshed out interesting female characters was a dream come true! It is also why give me Hermione over Bella Swan any day of the week! (Bella in Twilight drives me nuts. Have a personality. Do something!)

      Anyway, as far as watching the Disney cannon some I haven’t seen, some haven’t seen in a long time, some I have. I have wanted to watch the whole cannon but didn’t have the time. Then I tore my MCL in July and needed a project for all that bedrest I’ve had to do.
      Movies I Had Not Seen-
      Saludos Amigos
      Three Cabelleros
      Make Mine Music
      Melody Time (had seen some Johnny Appleseed before)
      Fun and Fancy Free (had seen Mickey and Beanstalk before)
      Aristocats
      Black Cauldron
      Fantasia 2000
      Brother Bear
      Chicken Little
      Meet the Robinsons
      Bolt

      Haven’t seen in a long time-
      Snow White
      Pinocchio
      Fantasia
      Alice in Wonderland
      Sword and the Stone
      The Rescuers
      Fox and the Hound
      Oliver and Company
      Hunchback
      Atlantis
      Winnie the Pooh
      Rescuers down under
      Peter Pan
      Lilo and Stitch
      Treasure Planet
      Home on the Range

      Also the one’s I’ve seen I am trying to approach with an objective eye. Do research on all of them so I have a thoughtful opinion and not just ‘I like this movie’.

      Been a wonderful experience!

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      1. Interesting! I actually am not a fan of Jessica Rabbit as I can’t get over her “sexpotness”; her other qualities don’t stand out to me as much as the “sexpotness” and I feel they just threw in the other qualities just to validate the “sexpotness”. Maybe guys and girls think differently. Or maybe I’m just stupid, lol.

        I’d love to meet a woman who thinks everything or at least most of what I’d say is amazing. That’d be awesome, lol!

        But I do understand that the girl should have a personality of her own. I dunno…I’m just not much of a feminist, so I guess that’s why I don’t notice these things.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha! We’ve got to convert you!

        I will add that I am way more likely to ignore such things when I haven’t watched a movie every night for a couple of weeks that follow such tropes, so perhaps that is a small problem with the project. Oh well.

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      3. Oh and Jessica Rabbit- she’s in deep love with a rabbit. That alone makes her interesting. But I like the coining of a new term sexpotness. That could be toned down for sure. (One of the reasons I’ve always been a Disney fan is I try to be pretty careful on the content I watch in movies)

        I guess this is just my unique perspective that my family life, my intellect, religion, and education combine to make me respond in this particular way to female characters. It is so important that girls know they are more than just an object.

        A lot of feminists are anti-princess. I am not. I love the princess movies. If they make girls feel powerful, confident and pretty that is great.

        Anyway, sorry for going on. Just a topic that interests me.

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      4. The main problem I see with me is that I feel the definition of what feminism is has been greatly blurred in the past few decades and I feel that it doesn’t really have a standard definition anymore.

        Granted, the definition is basically for women to be equal as men, which is a good idealistic definition, but when you get to the specifics and try to determine what qualifies as feminism, then I feel everybody has different opinions.

        For example, I consider myself a feminist in that I’m all for women working if they want, I’m all for women being paid the same as men doing the same exact work in the same exact way as them, I’m against women being sex objects and being portrayed as such, etc.

        But when ideas such as….like, “nudity is empowering” is promoted as feminism, I’m totally against that. When certain ways of dressing is being promoted as feminism because “women have the right to dress how they want”, I’m totally against that. When abortion is deemed a right a woman has because she has a right over her body, I’m totally against that, etc.

        The point that I’m trying to say is that I feel everyone’s definition of feminism is different and if two people are feminists, they may not agree with the same things and if two people aren’t feminists, they may not disagree with the same things, etc.

        So when a female character appears in a film and is I guess..just a “nice” character and not particularly well-developed or what, as long as she isn’t being portrayed as a sexpot with “sexpotness” (as we’ve coined), then I have no problem with her nor feel that her existence has anything to do with feminism.

        But, that’s just me.

        Oh, fyi, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ was released by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures, so I commend them for that since they knew that the film is more adult than the usual Disney fare.

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      5. I guess I’m just sick of characters like Vixey but again not enough for me to dislike the movie.In truth the twitterpated scene in Bambi is much worse but that was only 5 moves in so wasn’t as sick of it then.
        She just seemed like such a dope to me. Maybe I’m not as much of a romantic as I thought? You wouldn’t think I’m the girl who loves romantic comedies! Oh well.🙂

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      6. Cool. What things get under your skin in movies that doesn’t bother others? I know you don’t like slow paced films or at least given your list the other day.

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      7. It’s not that I don’t like slow-paced films, but slow-paced films that bore me or where nothing happens are when I don’t like them.

        I don’t really get bothered by much in films. I mean, I’m not a fan of the “tough, fighting, warrior woman” trope in films, but that’s about it.

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  2. The movie has it’s problems. It’s something special for me because it is the first one I remember watching in theatres (not the first one I actually saw, but the first one I was old enough to remember). But yeah…it is a middle-movie. Upper middle, but middle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is always special. Little Mermaid is the first one I remember seeing. There may have been others but it was the first one to make an impact.

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    2. Yeah it ended up at 33 out of 54 so in middle in between Wreck it Ralph and Princess and the Frog. I feel good about that.

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  3. Great review again! Yeah, I give this film a grade up to B+. It’s not perfect, but I still enjoy it. I thought the storyline was at least good, not great, but at least good. Also, I didn’t mind the whole Vixey appearing as a love interest. That is, since we Tod and Vixey at least spend some time together (unlike in Jungle Book with Mowgli and the human girl (who’s named Shanti in the second film). I watched the second film a couple months ago. It was okay, but I likely would have liked it better if any of that were included in this film. Anyway, should we assume that Amos more or less changes, or just decides to give up on killing Tod or something like that? Oh, and I’m curious, do you know if the Lawn Gnome is reviewing this one this year?

    Oh, and for the record, I almost cry at the endknnfor this one too.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. I may have seen it and cant remember but I dont think so. Then again it is very forgettable and so maybe I forgot😉

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    1. I dont know what films he is reviewing. What bothers me about Vixey is not that she is a stupid love interest but that she changes from being annoyed by him to being hypnotized by him like in Jungle Book after the song. That just bugs me. Really iritates me when Disney does that. But I agree Jungle Book is far worse. The movie is just so corny but I like it fine. My reviews for the Disney Canon are graded when compared to the other canon films. If I was going on comparing this to all films it is a B+ but so would most of the Disney films get As and Bs (as it is gave 22 As). But this one I think belongs in the middle of the canon as far as my favorites. It’s not terrible but it’s so corny and the bear scene while great feels like a different movie than rest so that’s why it got the grade it did. Thanks so much for your great comments and for reading my silly posts

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      1. Alright, well, I may have mentioned this before, but I got Princess & The Frog for Christmas in 2013. Well, at the same time, my mom got The Little Mermaid on the DVD/Blu-Ray combo set. Anyway, starting around that time I started a tradition where I took a picture of two Disney films together and posted them on Facebook explaining why I took one of then together. Well, this tradition started with me taking a pic of Little Mermaid and Princess & The Frog together. That is since they both started a time when Disney would lie Kelly get back on their feet again (hence Disney Renaissance and Disney Revival Era respectively), they’re of course both Disney, & they were both directed by John Musker and Ron Clements.
        Then, in April, I got Frozen for my birthday and then took a pic of Lion King and Frozen together since they both came during each era, both highest grossing animated films, & were considered a favorite by many, including myself.
        Then, around August, I took a picture of this film and Brother Bear together. Odd choice, you may say! Well, just bear with me for a sec. This one I picked mainly because, well, they both came out during a time when Disney was basically going through a Dark Age period, both films have a song during a rather sad scene, both followed by a Disney film that nearly destroyed the company or at least killed hand-drawn animation temporarily The Black Cauldron and Home On The Range) & in both films, the main characters ended up having a bitter falling out with each other and end up forgiving and reconciling with each other in the end.
        Then, a couple days later, I ended up of course taking a pic of The Black Cauldron and Home On The Range together. That is since they both were subject of corporate turmoil and were named either mediocre or bad Disney films.
        Then around I think in September, I took a pic of Robin Hood and Treasure Planet together. That is since, again, both came out during a Dark Age period in Disney & they’re both unique adaptations of the original source material.
        Anyway, I then took a pic of Pocahontas, Anastasia, & Prince Of Egypt together. That is since they’re all three based on historical events.
        Finally, this month, I took a picture of Oliver & Company and Bolt together. That is since they came out at a time when Disney was trying to find it’s footing again, they were both stories with cats and dogs as main characters, & they of course were followed by big hits Little Mermaid and Princess & The Frog respectively.
        Anyway, just thought I’d bring that up in case you were interested to know.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Love it! I totally see the connection. What a great journey through animation. What will you pair Big Hero 6 with I wonder?

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  4. Well, should I own it, we’ll see. I’m also thinking of pairing maybe Aladdin and Emperor’s New Groove and then Tarzan and Atlantis or something like that. I may at least go rent Chicken Little and pair that with Great Mouse Detective or something like that. But we’ll see.

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    1. That’s such a fun idea to do pairings. Could I use that for a blog idea? I’d give you full credit. I’d probably put big hero 6 and wreck it ralph together or incredibles and big hero 6

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      1. Sure, by all means do so. Yeah, actually, Big Hero 6 and Incredibles came to my mind too (despite the fact tht one of those is a Pixar film, that is). I don’t own Wreck-It-Ralph, as I wasn’t as big of a fan of it as most other Disney films. Anyway, best of luck!

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    1. I thought I was pretty generous on this. C+ is a good score. I gave other movies that I dislike lower scores. I enjoy this movie. It’s pretty sentimental and corny but it is sweet and simple. I like the message and the bear attack is well drawn but it feels like it is a part of another movie. It’s good but just too slow and corny to be one of my favorites.

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  5. After all these years I still really like ‘The Fox and the Hound’; the story was well executed in spite of its simplicity or lapses in writing, the animation for the forest and animals was just as good as in Bambi, and you do get to like the characters (well, most of them). The moral was also well implemented, and was probably the first film about anti-prejudice that really stayed with me as a child. I found that while there was a lot of sentimentality, they manage to balance it out with a lot of darker scenes; like when Todd is shown Amos’ hunting cabin and the animal skins inside – chilling stuff!

    So while I don’t regard it as a masterpiece, it is a film I could happily put on as a “comfort movie” – the kind of film that isn’t a guilty pleasure but isn’t necessarily the best made or most complex, but just works as a soothing relief after a lot of stress and draws you in no matter what’s on your mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually agree. It’s not perfect but I enjoy it for what it is. I like the message about friendship and it ends very strongly. Nice to have something that isn’t about love but about friendship. It’s a very gentle sweet movie.
      A C+ is a pretty good grade I think. It’s not one of my top tier favorites but still a strong movie that is above average for Disney. If I was rating it against films in general it would be a B but in the Disney Canon it falls right in the middle. 33 out of 54 in fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will say that I don’t share in your intense dislike of Vixie, if for no other reason than my being young didn’t allow me to properly discern how thinly written she was. I get the frustration, but its not enough to break the movie for me.

        Incidentally, this might be animator Richard Rich’s best work, as neither The Swan Princess nor The Black Cauldron worked for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think I had just seen that trope so many times in the middle years movies that I was stronger in my dislike than I might have otherwise been. It’s not a deal breaker for me either just frustrating when you see the same type of female character over and over again. This is stronger than SP and BC. Totally agree on that.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. By the way, you mentioned earlier that it was basically love at first sight with both Bambi and Faline in the film Bambi as well? I thought that they both met briefly as kids as well. Anyway, just saying!

    By the way, I saw Fox & The Hound 2 around Christmas time last year on Netflix. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but probably okay to say the least. I didn’t like that they added the whole county fair thing, especially since none of that was included in the original 1981 classic. Though I will say that the only thing I probably would watch it for is the cute and adorable Dixie (even though she started off as a “b” at first). Honestly, I think it should have been called Fox & The Hound 1 1/2 or something like that. Anyway, just thought you should know.

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    1. Cool. Thanks for the review. What I mean about the instalove trope is they are basically strangers and then one look and they are in love. I much prefer say Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Frozen, Tangled where relationship grows over time than one look and they are sunk.

      I’m going to rewatch this eventually for my Family Movie Night so it will be interesting to see what I think on a watch that isnt part of the canon rewatch. It’s good just pretty sappy for me

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      1. The first one for now because my Family Movie Night has to be available on Netflix and Fox and the Hound 1 is so sometime in next few weeks will be rewatching. I’m trying to space the Disney films out because not that many I can recommend on Netflix streaming.

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