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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Fox and the Hound 2
The Fox and the Hound 2
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // G // December 12, 2006
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Mike Long | posted December 14, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Welcome to yet another edition of "Disney Direct-to-Video Animated Sequel Theater". Here, we can freely discuss Disney's practice of releasing sequels to their theatrical animated films which go directly to video. The first example of this which I can recall was 1994's The Return of Jafar, which I often refer to as "The longest 66-minute movie ever made." Since that time, many such movies have been released, ranging from awful (the aforementioned The Return of Jafar) to the fairly decent (The Little Mermaid II and Pocahontas II). The latest entry into this genre is The Fox and the Hound 2, which has just hit DVD.

In case you're unfamiliar with the original 1981 film The Fox and the Hound, it dealt with a hound puppy, Copper, who befriended a young fox, Tod. However, as they matured, their relationship grew strained as Copper was being trained to hunt foxes. The Fox and the Hound 2 apparently takes place sometime in the middle of the original film, as Copper and Tod are still young.

In the movie, Copper (voiced by Harrsion Fahn) is sad because he isn't doing very well at his hunting training. Despite Tod's (voiced by Jonah Bobo) attempts to cheer up Copper, the puppy feels that he's not good at anything. Desperate to lift this buddy's spirits, Tod drags Copper to a fair which has come to town. There, they hear "The Singing Strays", a doggie vocal act lead by Cash (voiced by Patrick Swayze) and Dixie (voiced by Reba McEntire). Copper is immediately taken by their sing and begin to sing along with them. Following an argument between Cash and Dixie, Cash decides that the group is better off without her and he invite Copper to join the band. Copper is overjoyed that he's finally found something at which he is good, but Tod feels that his friend is leaving him behind. (Things get worse for Tod when he's told that he can clean the group's bowls.) Dixie is irate over the fact that she's been replaced by a puppy. What will have to happen for everyone to be happy?

The Fox and the Hound 2 is an odd entry into the direct-to-video animated sequel genre and at 69-minutes, it feels more like an episode of a TV show than a feature-length movie. For starters, making a sequel to The Fox and the Hound seems like an unusual choice. I realize that the film has its fans, but it's certainly not the most well-known Disney theatrical film. The story isn't incredibly deep, but there's little character introduction at the beginning and the movie seems to assume that we've seen the original movie.

And then we have the overall makeup of this film. The Fox and the Hound dealt with the relationship between the two animals and placed a great emphasis on animal instincts and life in the country. Thus, the shift to singing animals in a carnival is quite jarring. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not what I was expecting from a sequel to The Fox and the Hound. When the story reaches the carnival, the movie turns into a musical and there are several musical sequences, both with the dogs performing and musical montages. As someone who does not enjoy country music, I found the songs to be annoying. The introduction of Cash and Dixie really takes the focus off of Tod and Copper, giving one the sense that the filmmakers didn't have a full "Tod and Copper" story in mind and felt the need to bring in more characters. There is an attempt to create tension between Tod and Copper and further explore their relationship, but there's also no sense of urgency to the story, thus most viewers will be ambivalent about the outcome.

Those oddities aside, The Fox and the Hound 2 does have some good points. The animation looks very good and doesn't have the slightly cheap feeling which has tainted some of the other entries into the sequel group. The backgrounds look great and the characters have a nice amount of detail. The story focuses on friendship, loyalty, and following ones dreams, and aside from a character who brandishes a gun, there is no objectionable material. The voice acting is fine and in addition to the voices mentioned above, Vicki Lawrence and Stephen Root also lend their vocal talents to the movie.

Video

The Fox and the Hound 2 romps onto DVD courtesy of Disney DVD. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks fantastic, as it's very sharp and clear. The picture shows no grain, nor any defects from the source material. The colors look great, from Tod's orange fur to the slightly muted hues of the backgrounds. I didn't note any of the stuttering or jagged lines which can often accompany animation, and even when fast-forwarding, the image was stable.

Audio

This DVD offers both a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, as well as a DTS 5.1 track. Both provide clear dialogue and sound effects and the music from the film sounds fine. There is a very nice use of surround sound here and at one point, my daughter thought that something had fallen in the other room when it was simply a sound effect from the rear speakers. There are few moments where the bass response is obvious, but for the most part, it's very quiet.

Extras

The Fox and the Hound 2 has a few extras. "The Making of the Music" (10 minutes) features interviews with the composers who wrote songs just for the film and there is behind-the-scenes footage of performers, such as Trisha Yearwood, recording the songs. Speaking of music from the movie, there is a MUSIC VIDEO from Lucas Grabeel for the song "You Know I Will". Finally, we have a BONUS SHORT, "Goofy and Wilbur" in which Goofy and his cricket, Wilbur, go fishing. (There is a cricket in The Fox and the Hound 2, so I guess that's the connection.)


While there's nothing technically "wrong" with The Fox and the Hound 2, I'm not sure that it will please many viewers. Younger Disney fans may not be familiar with the original film and thus may not have much interest in the sequel. (After 24 minutes of the movie, my daughters asked if they could go outside and play.) Fans of the original movie may be dismayed at the lackluster story in which Copper and Tod have been placed. In any event, only die-hard Disneyphiles should hunt down a copy of this one.
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