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The Fox and the Hound (SE)
DVD disk
Oct 11, 2006 By: Scott Weinberg
The Fox and the Hound (SE) order
Director:
Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens

Actors:
Kurt Russell
Mickey Rooney
Pearl Bailey

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two critters who should probably hate one another become childhood friends -- and then they grow up.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Probably the last Disney release to contain some small nugget of the old school magic, THE FOX AND THE HOUND is a really sweet little movie. Let's face it: Most of the 1970's and '80's weren't all that hot for Disney Animation. After FOX, Disney put out THE BLACK CAULDRON, THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, and OLIVER AND COMPANY -- fine flicks all, I suppose, but nothing in the league of a DUMBO or a SLEEPING BEAUTY.

Based on the book by Daniel Mannix, THE FOX AND THE HOUND works perfectly as a Disney tale: The messages are sweet and healthy, the voice actors are strong and colorful, the animation (although not up to the 50s & 60s standard) is pretty excellent, plus there's songs, chases, excitement, and chuckles.

It's interesting to note that FOX was a team effort from both the old-school Disney veterans and a new team of hungry youngsters. The creators of the classics were retiring, but not before they could teach some lessons to the new guys. The studio may have gone off the rails for a few years after THE FOX AND THE HOUND, but this one still feels like a classic. Or at very least, a mini-classic. Either way, I consider it a worthy addition to my Special Disney DVD shelf -- and I know lots of animation fans who feel exactly the same way.

THE EXTRAS
While certainly not up to the normal "Disney Animated Classics" standard, this DVD offers a small dose of solid supplements -- and a bunch of kiddie stuff that your tots may or may not enjoy.

Sing-Along Songs: The Best of Friends allows you to sing along with the lyrics of a song called "The Best of Friends." This option is also known as "subtitles."

There's also a Forest Friendship Game and a DVD Storybook called "New Best Friends." Cute for the kiddies. But as far as grown-up goodies go, things look pretty slim. Passing the Baton (6:30) is as close as we get to any sort of backstage insight. Seems that F&H acted as sort of a "changing of the guard" at Disney. Although the film was started by some of the most legendary animators in the studio's history (Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas), those guys retired before the flick was done, and it was then passed over to guys like Ron Clements, Glen Keane, and John Musker -- all of whom have gone on to rather impressive careers.

There's also a fairly nifty 14-page photo gallery that delivers a look at some artwork, snapshots, and promotional materials. And rounding out the disc are a pair of shorts: 1951's LAMBERT THE SHEEPISH LION (8:20) and 1941's LEND A PAW (8:10), starring Goofy.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
In the grand scheme of "Classic Disney Animation," I suppose you could call THE FOX AND THE HOUND the last one. The cycle would re-start a few years later with THE LITTLE MERMAID, but I still think this is the final feature to offer a taste of the old fashioned Disney Magic.

Gotta say, though, I'm pretty disappointed with the supplemental material. It's a 25th Anniversary Edition, guys! You couldn't have scrounged up some more interviews and maybe a commentary track?!?

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