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26 March 2010 @ 03:37 pm
Disney Movies: #24 The Fox and The Hound (1981)  
Entry #7 in the 'Watch all the Classic Disney (Animated) Movies' Challenge

I had to take a little break from watching Disney movies, what with finals consuming every moment that they could. But Seanie found this film at the library one day, so to celebrate the end of winter quarter we decided to watch The Fox and the Hound. I had seem this movie once or twice as a child, but it didn't stand out in my memory at all. Seanie was pretty sure he'd never seen it.

An orphaned fox is adopted by a kindly widow, who names him Tod. (Derived from 'todde' or fox. Oh, she's clever.) Her neighbor, grouchy old man Slade, brings home a new puppy that he's training to be a hunting dog. Tod instantly befriends the wrinkly Copper, and the two enjoy golden afternoons playing together. All too soon, however, Slade takes Copper away to his winter hunting retreat, and the friends are separated. They grow up in separate worlds, and when Copper returns it soon becomes clear the fox and the dog cannot return to the playful days of their youth. Copper's mentor, a scraggly old dog named Chief, is hit by a train and badly wounded when he chases Tod off Slade's property. Copper swears vengeance on his old fox friend. But this is a Disney movie...surely true friendship and love will prevail?

This is such a typical Disney movie. That is to say...everything about it felt formulaic. The characters are the same cutesy-animal tropes we saw trotted out in Bambi and Lady and the Tramp. The story has the edge removed; when Chief is hit by the train it seems pretty obvious that he should be dead, but the story moves forward and all he's got is a broken leg. Wouldn't wanna scare the kids, after all! The jokes aren't original and they often aren't even funny; there's a running gag with two birds chasing a worm that just left Seanie and I going "huh?" (Although if I were six years old I'd probably be laughing.) It's a charming movie, if you like animals, but it's always a little too aware of how cute everyone is. But there's a certain darkness to the story, since despite everything Tod and Copper can't really transcend their roles of predator and prey. It's not something you'd expect in one of Disney's stories.

At the time of its release, The Fox and the Hound was the most expensive animated film produced. It cost a hearty $12 million. (Disney's next film, The Black Cauldron, came along a few years later and shattered The Fox and the Hound's record, costing twice as much.) I have to admit, I'm a little puzzled why this was such an expensive movie. It doesn't look much better than the previous films...maybe the animation's a little less sketchy, but that in itself wouldn't jack the cost way up, would it? There's a really good fight scene toward the end when a bear attacks Slade and Copper. That was pretty cool...but overall it seemed a very straightforward, run-of-the-mill Disney film.

I was honestly a bit bored during the movie. I'm not an animal lover, though. My boyfriend enjoyed it quite a bit more.
6/10 stars. It's pretty average.