The Fox And The Hound: 25th Anniversary Special Edition

The Fox And The Hound: 25th Anniversary Special Edition

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

While the story of a fox cub and his unlikely frienship with a hound may not have won as many fans as older Disney films, such as Cinderella or newer entries in the Disney archive, such as Beauty And The Beast, there is still plenty to commend it.

Tod is the fox, in question, taken under the wing of an owl – and a widow – when his mum is killed. He soon sparks up a friendship with a young hound, called Copper, who likes to play with his pal in a bid to escape the watchful eye of his older kennel mate Chief.

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Tod dreams of them being “friends forever” but as Big Mama tells him: “Forever is a long time.”

In good story telling tradition, Tod and Copper find their friendship threatened when Copper’s master trains him up to his ‘true nature’ – but will their comradeship win out in the end? This is Disney, folks, so you doubtless know the answer to that already.

Suffice to say, there isn’t anything too scary here for the under 10s, although there are a couple of scenes which provide a healthy dose of menace.

The animation is gentle and impressionistic throughout, with a nod to older films such as Bambi, with some of the characters – most notably Big Mama the owl – reminiscent of those in previous Disney outings such as The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh.

The vocal talents show a move away from traditional ‘voice talent’ artists to more famous names with Kurt Russell and Mickey Rooney taking on the roles of adult voices of Copper and Tod.

Importantly, the story relies on plot to carry it along and serves as a welcome reminder that audiences don’t require a popular reference or in-joke every five minutes to sustain their interest. In fact, despite being heavy on whimsy, the story clips along at a decent pace and features enough humour, care of a pair of stupid birds and a caterpillar, to stop things getting too sentimental.

It is the scoring which lets the film down the most. While the general score by Buddy Baker is suitably sweeping, the individual songs lack oomph and, most importantly, are instantly forgettable, despite no lesser a talent than singer/songwriter Pearl Bailey (as Big Mama) doing her best to inject some life.

While this may not be the most dazzling Disney ever, it looks lovely and has the sort of gentle charm which many more recent films (take a bow Shark Tale, Open Season, Barnyard) lack. Families will not be disappointed.

Reviewed on: 21 Feb 2007
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The Fox And The Hound: 25th Anniversary Special Edition packshot
Anniversary edition of the Disney film about a fox and a pup's unlikely friendship. Out to own on DVD from February 26.
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Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens

Writer: Ted Berman, Larry Clemmons, Vance Gerry, Steve Hulett, Earl Kress, Daniel P. Mannix, Burny Mattinson, David Michener, Peter Young

Starring: Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey, Corey Feldman, Keith Mitchell, Pat Buttram, Paul Winchell, Richard Bakalyan, Jeanette Nolan, Jack Albertson, Sandy Duncan

Year: 1981

Runtime: 83 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: USA

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