The Fox and the Hound 1 & 2
The Fox and the Hound (January 3/07)
The Fox and the Hound
, released in 1981, would prove to be Disney's last solid effort prior to their current renaissance (which kicked off a few years later with the release of The Little Mermaid
), and there's little doubt that the film possesses the feel and tone of the studio's earlier work. The story follows the titular characters as they become fast friends in childhood, although - inevitably - the two are separated once instinct begins to kick in. Though saddled with a relatively uneventful midsection (even at 82 minutes, the film occasionally feels a little on the long side), The Fox and the Hound
boasts an old-fashioned vibe that proves impossible to resist - with the relationship between Tod (the fox) and Copper (the hound) certainly an integral part of the movie's success. The inclusion of several unexpectedly gripping sequences - particularly the final confrontation between Tod and Copper - certainly doesn't hurt, nor does the uniformly stellar voice acting (Kurt Russell, as Copper, delivers as warm and ingratiating a performance as one might've expected).
Add to that a genuinely heartwarming conclusion, and you've got a Disney 'toon that has more in common with its forebearers than its contemporaries.
The Fox and the Hound 2
Though the animation is far more vibrant and colorful than that of its predecessor, The Fox and the Hound 2 is otherwise as needless a sequel as one might've imagined; it's sporadically entertaining to be sure, but there's simply no overlooking the exceedingly generic vibe that's been hard-wired into virtually every aspect of the production. The story transpires during Copper and Tod's adolescence (before Copper went off to become a hunting dog in the original), and follows the pair as they encounter a ragtag troupe of singing canines (including Patrick Swayze's Cash and Reba McEntire's Dixie). Right off the bat, there's little doubt that The Fox and the Hound 2 has been geared more towards small children than adults - as evidenced by the inclusion of some seriously puerile bits of comedy and a heavy-handed moral message that's destined to leave most viewers rolling their eyes. And even at a running time of just over an hour, the film wears out its welcome almost immediately - with the placement of several forgettable songs on the soundtrack undoubtedly designed to pad things out even further. The voice performances are fine and - as previously mentioned - the animation is impressive, but really, there's just no good reason for this movie to even exist.