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The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Tod (Mickey Rooney) and Copper (Kurt Russell) are natural enemies. Tod is a fox and Copper is a hound dog. The two, however, break protocol and find themselves best of friends in the early stages of their lives. As life goes on, the two find themselves pitted against one another. Can they overcome the odds and stay friends?

Bambi (1942) is often regarded as one of the more emotionally trying Disney films. Yet, the lack of emotion and the total disregard for character (and story) development early in the film make it difficult for audiences to appreciate the problematic youth of the titular character. The beginning of Disney’s The Fox and the Hound feels similar in the sense that a young, and adorable, character experiences great loss within the first few minutes of the film. However, with the opening chase and the sudden demise of Tod’s mother, the writers (all nine of them) and the directors (and there are five of them) were able to create a connection between viewers and Tod. In the early going, Tod and Copper are two of the most adorable critters. They are innocent and physically cute animals that allow audiences to look past the difficulties of the real world and accept that there is still a lot of good that takes place within it. 

Moreover, the story is fun and attractive to audiences of all ages. Children are able to appreciate the animated and exciting scenes that depict the main characters playing hide and seek or chasing after chickens, while the parents appreciate the internal struggle of the many relatable characters. The fox and the hound depict more than just innocence and fun, they depict the inner struggle that many of us face each and every day. As the characters grow up and begin to face morally ambiguous situations, they grow even closer to the viewers (particularly the older audience), as the viewers begin to see even more of themselves in the characters. There are some dark and unappealing events that take place throughout the film, and, while they are difficult to watch, they appeal to audiences just the same, as they represent real life and allow for a deeper connection to the film by viewers.

The one, and only, downfall of the film was the casting. Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell and Paul Winchell are all wonderfully talented voice actors and are able to depict emotion in each and every scene. The issue was the fact that these actors’ voices are so well known that it was often difficult to see anything other than Russel, Rooney or Tigger (as Winchell plays the voice of the energetic tiger in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh--and the other Winnie the Pooh films). They (as well as the rest of the cast) did a wonderful job in their respective roles, however, the arduousness of trying to separate the characters from the well known actors made parts of the film difficult to appreciate. 

Disney is typically successful in depicting some of the harsh realities of the world, while consistently being able to reassure audiences of the innocence and happiness that still exists in the world. This film is a perfect example of this and proves that even in some of the lesser known films (or at least films that are viewed less often than others) Disney is able to present audiences with these themes and make solid connections to their viewers. The Fox and the Hound is a family friendly and adult approved film that has something for everyone. 



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