Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Review : Disney's The Fox in the Hound (1981)

The Fox & The Hound : Two friends, a Fox and a Hound. Grow up together and create a very special bond, suddenly the bond is taken away and they are forced to become enemies.

The Fox and The Hound is Disney's 24th Animated Classic, released back in 1981. The film teaches whoever watches it a lot about friendship and a lot about right and wrong and how friendships can be valued because they can so easily be taken away.

The film develops into a thoughtful examination of friendship and includes some mature themes, especially loss. The film starts off with the off-screen shooting death of the fox's 'Todd's mother and he is later abandoned by his human caretaker in a forest in an attempt to try to keep him safe. There's lots of horrifying hunting imagery throughout this film, which I'm not was intended this way will be looked upon by younger viewers in a scary and threatening way. 

For instance : snapping leg traps, pelts, and a very trigger happy character named Amos who, after awhile is so bent on catching the fox that he breaks into an animal preserve and tries traps and fire to catch him. The most intense scene involves a ferocious bear fight at the end. The bear which doesn't have a name, only appears for a few minutes at the end and isn't a heavily featured character, I think it's just there to indicate danger. But it looks evil, and very cheesed off at having his sleep disturbed by a vicious hunter, which I'm sure you would be if you were a hibernating bear.  But the music which sets that scene up, the red eyes and sharp teeth and claws of the bear, the bear attacking and nearly killing Copper if Todd hadn't of come to the rescue. It was a very intense, scary scene.

Families looking for something for younger viewers with the same cute characters and less violence should try The Fox and the Hound 2.

What's interesting about this film is, it's not about fairy tales, no damsels in distress, no handsome princes or pretty castles. Just two friends who you wouldn't see being friends, creating a bond together and seeing how time changes them into becoming enemies, then you get a sense of hate and rage which pours out in Copper which we've never seen in the film before. That's actually very scary to see how quickly the coin can flip in the development of a character.

Although the plot does intentionally concentrate on the serious subjects of maturity and loss of innocence, there's also plenty of humor throughout, so there's laughs to keep younger viewers entertained. It becomes clearer when you watch these films again as you get older, that there's more to them to make them more what they seem to be, a child's mind may not understand the messages in it entirely  but they'll laugh at the funny bits and be scared of the bear, as they grow up and get older, they realise what the film's about. That's what matters. That's what clever about these classic Disney movies, it's films like 'Fox and Hound' I will be showing to my children when they are born and they will grow up loving these film as much as I do.

The climactic fight with the bear at the end is pretty realistic, and may be a little too intense for children under the age of 11 years old. The bittersweet finale, where the fox and the hound smile at each other, then go their separate ways, knowing they can never really be friends anymore, is particularly poignant and will probably bring a tear to the eye of anyone who has grown up and lost a friend, but there you go. That's life.

Overall, this film is about a friendship and the bond between two characters who you wouldn't necessarily see being friends, and how that relationship is explored through time to it's climax, it's a very gripping film which invests interest in the audience within moments of it starting. 9/10

NEXT: Dumb & Dumber

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