Baby here again. No, you’re not seeing double unless you’re seeing two of me. That would be very bad since you’re reading this and I’m not really there at all. No, you’re not seeing double. But, thanks to the guys at Disney and a little bit to the guys at UPS who somehow got this thing through my tight security net, we get not one but two classic Disney animated movies on one Blu-ray release. This thing has so much canine content that you’re gonna need a doggie bag for all the leftovers. Speaking of leftovers, you can send any of that stuff to us here at Upcomingdiscs in care of Baby. Now, how many paws am I holding up?
Of course, the movie should have been called The Hound And The Fox, because we know who should get top billing here. But don’t blame the guys at Disney for that one. That blame belongs to a guy named Daniel P. Mannix. You see, he wrote a children’s book a while before, and this was another one of those Disney versions of a classic story. I guess that means I should tell you the story.
Well… I was born in a small alley near the edge… Wrong story. Actually, there’s two of them here. Gino says something about a dog with two bones.
The Fox And The Hound (1981)
There’s a bit of a sad start to this movie. Most of these things have sad endings, but this one starts out pretty depressing, I’ll tell ya. You see, a fox is running from a pack of hunters and is eventually shot by them. Now, before you start blaming me, let me set you straight. The dogs were chasing the fox, but they just wanted to play. It was the guys with the guns that took the poor fox out. But not before she manages to hide her little pup. (Are fox babies called pups?) Since the little baby has no place to go, an owl named Big Momma (Bailey) gets her other bird friends to get the attention of the Widow Tweed (Nolan) who takes the baby in and names him Toddler or Tod for short.
Little Tod (Rooney) makes friends with the hound puppy Copper (Russell). It doesn’t make Copper’s master Amos (Albertson) very happy at all, and he’s always trying to shoot poor Tod. It doesn’t help that Copper’s friend Chief (Buttram) doesn’t think it’s a good idea for the two to be friends, either. They promise to be friends forever, but all of that is about to change.
Amos takes Copper and Chief away for the winter to teach Copper how to be a good hunting dog. When they return they have a wagon filled with furs, and both Copper and Tod have now grown up. Tod still wants to be buddies, but Copper knows that hunting dogs can’t be buddies with a fox. They become enemies, and Widow Tweed takes Tod to a nature preserve to keep him safe, but you can bet that’s not going to stop Amos or Copper from getting their fox.
There are a lot of familiar voices here, and when you have ears as good as mine you really can pick up on some stuff. If Boomer sounds a lot like Tigger, then you have good ears, too. Because it is Tigger himself voiced by Paul Winchell. There’s a little Piglet here, as well. John Fiedler has a small role as a porcupine, but you can’t help but hear the iconic Piglet voice instead. These two have played those characters for a lot of years and died just one day apart back in June 24th & 25th 2005. Now, that’s what I call friends. The movie has a few other famous voices. Jack Albertson voices Amos, and Pearl Bailey voices Big Momma. Mickey Rooney is Tod, while Kurt Russell is Copper.
The Fox And The Hound 2 (2006)
This one is a direct to video release and can be a little confusing if you’re a fan of the original movie. It’s kinda what Gino calls a prequel, but not really. It takes place in the middle of the first movie.
Tod (Bobo) and Copper (Fahn) are still puppies and are still best friends. Copper doesn’t feel like he’s very good at anything, and it makes him feel pretty down. This is where I usually offer Gino a little swat on his paw and get him to pet me. But when the two friends go to the local fair they hear The Singing Strays. It’s an all-dog singing group run by Cash (Swayze). When their star and diva Dixie (McEntire) leaves them right before they’re about to perform for a talent scout, Copper ends up filling the void. Turns out he can do something well. He can sing. He joins the band, but when stars fill his eyes he starts to neglect Tod.
This movie has little in common with the original. The characters don’t even look very much the same. It is a brighter and crisper world, but it doesn’t have the texture that made the first one a classic. None of the voices from the first film return. It looks more like a Saturday morning cartoon than a classic Disney release. I have to admit it was still fun to watch, but it didn’t get my tail waggin’ near as much as the first. But this one is free, and that spells T R E A T.
Both films are presented in their original aspect ratios of 1.66:1 and 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 35 mbps. Okay, Gino told me to say that stuff. I keep hearing that dogs are colorblind. If that’s true then this movie has performed a miracle, because boy can I see the colors, particularly in the second film. Unfortunately, I think the first movie needs a bath. There was a lot of dirt there, and the animation lines were something Gino calls soft. Disney didn’t put quite the same effort into cleaning these movies as they have with the big ones. It looks fine. And after all, who needs a bath anyway?
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is fine for both films. You can hear the songs just fine, but they aren’t really as good as some of those classic songs Gino’s always talking about from some Sherman Brothers. You can hear everybody talk, and that’s really all you need here.
Unlikely Friends: (7:25) This short piece talks about animals that you might not think could be friends, but are. Now, you want some unlikely friends? How about me and those Fed Ex/UPS guys. Now, that’s one friendship that ain’t gonna happen, and that spells G R O W L.
This may not be one of the best or most loved of the Disney cartoons. You have to give them credit for putting both movies on one release and not going for the double-dip. Believe me when I tell you that dogs don’t want to hear anything to do with dip. These are the kind of movies that go down nice on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It really is a dog’s life, after all. Now, “If only people would just let you play”.