"THE FOX AND THE HOUND 2"
by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Jonah Bobo as TOD
Harrison Fahn as COPPER
Jeff Foxworthy as LYLE
Reba McEntire as DIXIE
Rob Paulsen as CHIEF
Patrick Swayze as CASH
Directed by: Jim Kammerud
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There was a time not too long ago that sequels to classic Disney movies were a bad thing. In recent years, however, they’ve gotten a little better. This was pushed by the success of the “Lion King” sequels, and it has trickled down into other franchises like “Lilo and Stitch.”
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However, there’s still a lot to overcome with these direct-to-DVD sequels, and “The Fox and the Hound 2” doesn’t quite do this. Oh, it’s not nearly as bad as “The Little Mermaid II” or “Mulan II,” but it’s not nearly as good as the original.
This new “Fox and the Hound” follows that pattern we’ve seen in sequels to “The Lion King,” “Tarzan” and “Bambi.” Instead of being a proper sequel that takes place after the events of the first film, or being a prequel to the original, this takes place in the middle.
Tod the fox and Copper the hound dog are friends as pups. They haven’t yet learned that they are meant to be mortal enemies. With the life-threatening peril shown at the end of the first film, it would be hard to put something that dangerous in a story telling the middle ground of their lives. Instead, the writers gave the movie its own spin of friendship angst that seems more appropriate for a show on the CW network than in a Disney cartoon.
Tod and Copper stumble into the county fair to discover a singing group of dogs. Dixie (Reba McEntire) is the star of the show, singing the lead and stealing the show. However, when Copper stumbles in during a Dixie diva melt-down, the band decides he’d be a better new lead singer. This new-found fame causes Copper to abandon Tod as a friend, leaving him to be his lame entourage. Soon Tod and Dixie join forces to set things back to the way they were.
Part of what gave the original such charm was the rustic care with which it was put together. The animation style worked for the then-declining look of the studio features. The story was small and self-contained, and it managed to stay real even though it had talking animals.
This new film tries to be a bigger story than it should be, aiming for an epic style but never going farther than the county fair. The story is a little weak, seeming a bit forced. In several ways, it reminded me of “Lady and the Tramp II” in both its look and flavor. However, there’s no real danger in the show, which softened any emotional attachment I felt.
The guest stars voices of the film include McEntire, who sings a few too many songs on the soundtrack, as well as Patrick Swayze and Jeff Foxworthy. This isn’t exactly the A-listers in animated voices. Still, for a family film, you can do a lot worse. Kids who are fans of Disney dogs should like this film enough.
The DVD comes with a featurette that examinees the music from the film as well as a set-top DVD game that allows kids to mix the music the dogs sing in the movie. There’s also a music video performance by Lucas Grabeel of “High School Musical” fame as well as a demo of the new Disney DVD GameWorld Dogs Edition. Finally, the Goofy short subject “Goofy and Wilbur” rounds out the mix.
“The Fox and the Hound 2” is never going to live down as a classic, but it isn’t terrible. It falls somewhere in the middle of the Disney DVD sequel spectrum.
Specifications: DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Family-friendly widescreen (1.78:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language tracks. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.