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Criticism

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Criticism


The Fox and the Hound was released in 1981 and was the 24th Disney feature.

Some previous Disney productions were:

     01. Snow White (1937)
     03.
Dumbo (1941)
     21. Robin Hood (1973)
     22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the

           Pooh (1977)
     23. The Rescuers (1977)

 

Then...


     24.
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
     28. The Little Mermaid (1989)
     31.
Aladdin (1992)
     33.
Pocahontas (1995)
     36.
Mulan (1998)

There were mixed contemporary reviews on The Fox and the Hound.  Most of the criticism concentrated on the thematic aspects of the movie, the movie's inadequate artistic qualities and lackluster songs.  However, most critics do mention the successful moral qualities of The Fox and the Hound.

 

Well, what exactly is the moral of the story? 

 

The Fox and the Hound introduces concepts of morality, but it goes beyond just illustrating what is right and wrong or good and bad.  Children will be able to identify moments where something or someone is good and moments where something or someone is bad.  There are some tricky moments.  What do you do when Copper betrays Todd and Todd becomes his prey?

 

No one is naturally a villain in the Fox and the Hound.  Yes, Slade's and Chief's character need a little polishing, but mostly, their 'bad' actions toward Todd are motivated by revenge.  Then is Copper a bad character for following them?  Why is Copper and Todd forced to be enemies?

These are some good questions ask during or after the movie.  If you have suggestions for discussion questions or want to check out some more, check out the Discussion Topics page.

 

Some critics suggest that this movie was a little too careful with issues which made it a little too mundane.  One funny conflict that arose with the anamators was the issue of Chief getting struck by the train in one sequence.

 

"Chief the dog gets hit by a freight train and drops a thousand feet into a gorge, yet in the last sequence appears okay with a little bandage on his paw. Story veteran Vance Gerry argued for the department: "But he gets hit in the kisser with a freight train!!" To which Ron Miller and co-director Art Stevens countered: "Geez, we never killed a main character in a Disney film and we're not starting now!" Besides, Ollie had done some neat test animation of Chief hobbling around in a cast. They then made young animator Randy Cartwright go back to the scene where Copper finds Chief's body and had him animate Chief's eyes opening and closing so the audience knew right away he was not dead."1

 

When squeaks, a little caterpillar, metamorphosizes into a butterfly at the end of the movie, it symbolizes the transformation of all the characters.  Although the Fox and the Hound doesn't conclude with a happy Disneyfied ending, we are left with a warm feeling in our hearts.

 

Some Excerpts of Criticism


SuniThe Fox and the Hound

ROGER EBERT/ January 1, 1981

"for all of its familiar qualities, this movie marks something of a departure for the Disney studio, and its movement is in an interesting direction. THE FOX AND THE HOUND is one of those relatively rare Disney animated features that contains a useful lesson for its younger audiences. It's not just cute animals and frightening adventures and a happy ending; it's also a rather thoughtful meditation on how society determines our behavior."

 

"Although THE FOX AND THE HOUND is the first Disney animated feature to have been made mostly by a newer generation of artists at the studio, the film's look still is in the tradition of THE RESCUERS (1977) and other Disney work in the 1970s. That means we don't get the painstaking, frame-by-frame animation of individual leaves and flowers and birds that made SNOW WHITE magical back when animator man-hours were cheaper."2

> http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19810101/REVIEWS/101010329/1023

 

SuniThe New Generation Comes of Age

RICHARD CORLISS / July 20, 1981

"How curious: in a season when the brightest American film makers hope to provoke nothing more complex than a belly laugh or a body blow, the Disney organization has produced a movie that confronts the Dostoyevskian terrors of the heart. In tone, The Fox and the Hound is a return to primal Disney, to the glory days of the early features when the forces of evil and nature conspired to wrench strong new emotions out of toddlers and brooding concern from their parents. The Fox and the Hound lacks the craftsmanship and concise wit that brought a dozen or more characters to idiosyncratic life in the earlier films. The comic relief is perfunctory at best, the five songs are just barely hummable, and the picture takes a while to get started. But if there is no magic here, there is something almost as rare: a moral weight that gives Daniel P. Mannix's tale of thwarted friendship a sweetly somber air" 3

> http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,954873-1,00.html 


1 Sito, Tom (1998). Disney's The Fox and the Hound: The Coming of the Next Generation. Animation World Magazine, 3.8.  Retrieved April 20, 2009, from http://www.awn.com/mag/issue3.8/3.8pages/3.8sitofox.html

2 Ebert, Roger (1981, January). The Fox and the Hound.  Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19810101/REVIEWS/101010329/1023

3 Corliss, Richard (1981, July). The New Generation Comes of Age. TIME Magazine. Retrieved April 20, 2009, from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,954873-1,00.html

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