DVD Review: The Fox and the Hound - 25th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: October 10, 2006
Distributor: Walt Disney Video
· Ted Berman
· Richard Rich
· Mickey Rooney
· Kurt Russell
· Pearl Bailey
· Jack Albertson
· Jeanette Nolan
· Corey Feldman
· Keith Mitchell
· IMDb: The Fox and the Hound
by R.J. Carter
Published: October 10, 2006
Can a friendship born in childhood survive the enmities born in adulthood? The 24th animated film from the House of Mouse pairs a rambunctious hound pup with an orphaned fox kit -- two creatures whose very roles in the natural order of things should put them at odds. But nature forgot to inform Tod and Copper.
"The Fox and the Hound" opens with a scene evocative of Disney's "Bambi": a mother fox is being chased by hunters. Desperately she carries her kit in her mouth as she scrambles for safety. But the dogs are too close, so she tucks her youngster away in a safe place and leads the dogs off, a pair of gunshots off camera leaving no question as to whether she escaped or not. But the kit's predicament does not go unnoticed. Big Mama Owl (Pearl Bailey, As the World Turns) witnesses the whole thing, and with the help of a would-be Goodfeathers sparrow named Dinky (Dick Bakalyan, "Art School Confidential") and an addled woodpecker named Boomer (Paul Winchell, Disney's Tigger), she draws the attention of the nearby Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan, "The Horse Whisperer"), who takes the fox in and names him Tod.
Meanwhile, just across the way, cantankerous old Amos Slade (Jack Albertson) has just got himself a new hound pup, Copper, to assist his other hunting dog, Chief (Green Acres' Pat Buttrum). Amos "ain't got no job, he's a hunting man, and he'd rather have a dog than a dollar." He's the embodiment of every gun control activist's nightmares, a trigger happy hick who'll fire at a moving vehicle if there's a fox hiding in the back seat.
When the young Tod (voiced by Keith Mitchell, "Python") goes exploring, he gets scented out by little Copper ("Stand by Me"'s Corey Feldman in one of his earlier roles). The two hit it off and begin playing hide-and-seek. But the more often Copper strays off to play with Tod, the angrier about it Amos gets. When Copper is chained up, Tod comes over to Copper's place to play -- awakening old Chief and, for all intents and purposes, appearing as though he were there to raid the henhouse. Amos is intent on shooting the fox, but Widow Tweed blocks his attempt just in time.
Copper and Tod -- the best of friends.
Things probably would have gone on like that, but it's Amos's time of year to go hunting for skins. So he loads up Chief and Copper for a several month hunting trip, leaving Tod alone. And during those many months, both Tod and Copper grow up. On their return, a full-grown Tod (now voiced by Kurt Russell) can't wait to greet his old friend Copper (voiced by Mickey Rooney). Copper likes Tod, but he warns him they can't play anymore -- he's a hunting dog now. During their conversation, old Chief wakes up again, and the chase is on with a vengeance. As Tod scrambles to get away, he leads Chief over a rickety bridge. Chief falls through and is gravely injured on the creekbed below. Copper vows vengeance on Tod, as does Amos, and the Widow Tweedy has no choice but to haul Tod out to a game preserve and dump him there, hoping he'll be safe.
But a "No Hunting" sign isn't going to stop Amos Slade from getting his vengeance on that fox, and Copper is all too eager to help his master. But when Tod finds himself cornered by Copper, will he actually go through with killing his old friend? And when Copper finds the tables turned and himself in deadly peril, will Tod come to his rescue despite the enmity between them?
Based on book by Daniel P. Mannix, this time-tested Disney favorite has been cleaned up for DVD and released with an array of bonus features. Under the "Music & More" category, the viewer can activate the Sing-Along version of the show's main theme, "The Best of Friends". Under "Games and Activities", kids can play the "Forest Friendship Game" -- a hide and seek game with two levels of play. At the first level, you're just trying to find Tod. But at the second level, if you find someone other than Tod, then you also have to match them to their best friend from a selection of three choices. There's also a DVD Storybook story, "New Best Friends", about Tod and Copper meeting a Porcupine.
The "Backstage Disney" section includes a six-and-a-half minute making-of featurette about "The Fox and the Hound", called "Passing the Baton". The film was, literally, "a turning point in the history of Disney animation." It was with this film that the Nine Old Men of Disney passed the torch to the new generation of animators at the studio. "Backstage Disney" also includes an artwork gallery of character shots from "The Fox and the Hound".
Capping off the bonus features are two Disney animated shorts, each a classic: "Lambert the Sheepish Lion", and a Mickey and Pluto tale, "Lend a Paw", in which Pluto rescues a kitten from drowning in the river where it was dumped.
Audio for the feature presentation can be set to English, Spanish or French, with optional subtitles in English only.
Previews on this DVD include "Cars", "The Fox and the Hound 2", "Peter Pan" Platinum Edition, and "Meet the Robinsons". Additional selectable sneak peeks include "Cinderella III: A Twist in Time", "Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: A Kingdom of Kindness", "Tinkerbell", The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and "Airbuddies".