Fox and the Hound (1981)
Genre: Animated, Drama
Starring: Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Corey Feldman,
Some Spoilers Apply
I never loved this movie like others I know did. I found it boring and uninspired. However, the rewatch made me see something touching. It’s not a great film, but not without some merit.
Tod (fox) and Copper (hound) become childhood friends, but as they age, it becomes clear that their paths are going down two different roads thanks to a cruel society bent of violence and predjudice.
What I Liked:
First off, this movie is overloaded with cuteness. Todd and Copper are some of the cutest animal characters ever created by Disney. Their friendship is beautiful, and the story has a rather profound story arc.
Tod the fox is raised by the Widow Tweed, a middle aged woman who is kind and nurturing. Even though Tod is a fox, she treats him with compassion and love. He grows up to share her principles. A loving compassionate nature.
Meanwhile, Copper is bought by Amos Slade, a bigoted redneck hunter with a hatred for animals. He doesn’t trust Tod, he believes by his very nature he is no good. Promises to take him out the first chance he can.
Despite these two conflicting upbringings, Tod and Copper form a friendship in their young lives. However, Copper is meant to be a hunting dog, and Tod is by all rights considered his prey much to Copper’s dismay.
While not every female character is strong and independent. (Looking at you Vixey!) Widow Tweed is excellent. Granted, she is seen as a motherly figure, but she also has a tough as nails side to her I love. A stronger than average and positive female perspective for once.
The Owl known as Big Mama is also a lovely character. Disney always seems to do owls right. Again, she has that motherly wisdom. Disney always reflects that females are in their best place as mothers. (It may be a dated notion even in 1981, but they still pushed it.)
Disney is still not pulling any punches. They clearly describe what happens when the hunter goes on his trips. Amos uses his gun plenty in his efforts to kill Tod. (Disney’s second gun-toting villain.)
I believe this story depicts the dangers of predjudice. You judge a whole group/species on the actions of one, you wind up blindly hating. In reality, if you look closer, you’d see something special.
Some of the animation is lovely, even though I have to remove points for the things they reused from previous films. There are a few action sequences which are breathtaking in their beauty. Disney may be in their low point during this period, but they could still do some things right.
I won’t spoil it, but there is a part at the end of this movie that was so touching, it made my eyes water. (Only Bambi’s mother dying has done that previously.) It’s a magical moment.
Things I don’t like
I guess it’s an easy of evil, but the constant borderline animal abuse in the film makes Amos an easy villain.
It constantly reminds us that people suck and animals are better.
The villain is just a redneck stereotype.
Again, reusing animation is a big no-no. Again, Disney must have been in trouble, or were being lazy. You need to take pride in your work. Especially if you want to be the biggest, baddest, animated company in the world. (If you can’t beat them buy them.)
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the music in this one either.
Fox and the Hound is not without some incredible moments that can touch your heart. The characters are interesting and some of them are worthy of being remembered in fond fashion. However, the reusing of animation and the slow pace bring this film down. I’d let my child watch it, but I sure wouldn’t watch it with them. (I’d likely fall asleep.)
The Animation Ladder
The Jungle Book (1967)
101 Dalmations (1961)
Robin Hood (1973)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs/
Cinderella (1950)- https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/cinderella-1950/
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Sword in the Stone (1963)
Fox and the Hound (1981)
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The Rescuers (1977)
The Sleeping Beauty (1959)