Sorry it's been takin' so long guys! Ah well, stuff came up. But here we are with another review of mines. This time we'll be looking at one of the Disney Sequels that came out a lot during the early 90's, late 2000's. They have a reputation of usually being cheap knockoffs of the originals, with a few exeptions. How will The Fox and the Hound 2 do? Eh, we'll see. *spoilers*
I guess that before we start with our usual summary, let's just really quick adress what I thought of the first movie (though I will get to reviewing it eventually): I liked it. It was dark, really atmospheric, and had very nice character development. Do keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion-- I'll review it objectively once I get to doing so--, but, looking at Imdb, Rotten Tomatoes and Amazon, most people seem to like it as well. Just to give you a little context before we go into the movie.
But, here we are, our dear summary:
*for those confused, note that this is a midquel, not a sequel or prequel*
Our film starts with...of course, Tod and Copper. The fox and the hound are playing happily on Tod's farm, chasing crickets, but it seems that Copper is rather clumsy, especially after accidentally almost getting Tod caught by his owner, Amos, who is a fox hunter.
Copper is rather upset by all of this, since he can't seem to please his owner, nor his friend Chief, but Tod is rather upbeat about it, saying that he'll find his talent eventually. Copper cheers up, and the two of them run away to a nearby Country Fair. Amos, nor Widow Tweed notice them leaving since they are both at the fair as well, but the two avoid them.
On the Fair, Copper comes across a band of dogs called the Singin' Strays, which seems to have some ongoing turmoil in it: One of their lead singers, a saluki named Dixie, is annoyed by the rest of the band and the working conditions and temporarily quits. Since the band has a show coming up, Cash, the leader, picks Copper to sing Dixie's part, which he apparently does amazingly well.
Dixie gets upset by being replaced, especially after Cash fires her and hires Copper instead, and is determined to get the puppy out of the band.
Cash, meanwhile, shows Copper the band's goal: A talent show is coming to the festival and if the scouts likes their act the most, he'll pick the Singin' Strays to become popular. Copper enjoys singing in the band and being good at something for once, so willingly accepts Cash's offer to stay in the band and make them big.
Tod, however, is being left behind, since he cannot sing, and Copper pretty much neglects him, spending all time with Cash and the band. Dixie sees an opportunity in this and gets him to tell a secret about Copper: the puppy isn't a stray, and therefore logically not allowed in a band of stray dogs. He and Dixie get Chief and Amos to find Copper during the big talent hunt, and Amos takes his dog home. Cash finds out this way that Copper had lied and fires him, and also separates from Dixie, who accidentally got a big part of the Country Fair destroyed. But, the rest of the band in their turn abandons Cash, who was being a presuading and bossy jerk all the time. Tod is also left alone since Copper knows that he was the one to ruin their most important preformance.
But after a day the two of them reconcile and Copper manages to locate the talent scout in a lonesome dinner stand, while Tod reunites the band. Copper and the band sing one final song together, the talent scout is euphoric and makes them dog stars. Tod is sad at first because he expects Copper to join with the now succesful band, and returns home alone, but the puppy chases after him. The two reunite and their friendship continues.
The style change...argh
So...yeah. Okay. You're probably thinking what I'm thinking about the logical stuff, but since it's less prominent than in, say, Princess Charm School, I'll tackle them further below in the review, and not on top.
But, here we go. Let's just this thing!
First off, as always, the story. It is about as predictable as can get, which is stupid because the first Fox and the Hound movie had a really unpredictable storyline. You'd expect these two cute animals to become friends, but no, they end up wanting to kill each other, and, in the end, peacefully end their friendship.
This? We've got sining dogs...and...jealeousy. Okay. Not really what I think of for a Fox and the Hound movie? The way it is executed is also really...meh, by the way. It's really cliché, with no twists and turns thrown in it. Just the whole fame-vs-friend plot. It's boring and uninteresting and just...doesn't fit to the overall feel of the first movie (something which I'll talk about later).
There's also one utterly useless subplot which is literally just filler: we have a girl scout named Olivia who helps the talent scout out seeking talent, in which he always gets hurt and she stays calm as ever. Used for humor and filler, I guess, but useless to the plot, while it does at least take up a good 7 or so minutes. Doesn't sound like a lot, but, since there are a few unexplained things, a 7 minutes we could've used for something else instead.
Overall, it's just a meh.
The acting. Yeah, as you'd expect, no one of the original returned, since it was 20-something years ago that the original came out. We don't have any actors reprising their original roles, which is logical.
So, first of all, how do the voices we had before compare to the originals? From what I can tell, most of them did a decent enough job of sounding alike. However, Tod and Copper just sound...different. Copper has a voice that sounds less...well, not deep, but the other one sounded more like he was talking with a mildly low edge to his voice. I'm not very great at describing what he sounded like, but just take my word for it when I say he sounded different. Tod sounded more spot on, but still a bit older than the original.
But, looking past that, how did they act? Again, just...decent. It's kind of hard to sound really invested in a movie surrounding singing dogs, I guess, but they did a good enough job. The voices did fit well to the characters and, though I would've liked a more more accurate Tod and Copper, especially since they are the leads, they still are pretty close, and everyone at least seems to try their best. It's something.
Tod and Copper are...Tod and Copper. They never had that much defined characteristics as kids in the original, but that never really bothered me since...well...they're kids, and very young kids to add to that. Personality develops slowly as one matures, which is why their adult selves were more defined. Here, they did seem to add a bit more characteristics to each...but just the bare bones. They couldn't go all out here since they are pups/kits for the entire movie.
Copper's main defining character is that he wants to overcome his clumsiness and be good at something. I guess that I like that they added his clumsiness, since the original movie gave hints to that by showing him tumble over his own ears and messing up during the growing-up sequence. It's nice...but it ends with that.
Tod is the more self-certain guy, but he has just as little personality as Copper. Ah well. I could complain more, but at least they have traits. It's not much, but it's more than some of these other sequels had. But still, I do have to say that they aren't really "characters", more like generic guys with one trait attached to them.
The most important side characters this time aren't Amos or Widow Tweed or Chief or something, but Cash and Dixie.
Cash is a self-centered band leader who wants nothing more than to win the talent scout's attention. He comes off as really confident most of the time, but does have a very nervous personality lurking in the shadows while acting so confident. I feel kind of mixed on this character. He probably is the best one in the movie, in that he does have an actual change of character, flaws, and a personality which doesn't rely on one or two traits...but I'm not saying he's an enjoyable character, or they guy you'd look up to. He's very, very pushing, does everything to his will, down to borderline obsession. Yes, flaws make a character what it is: a character, but the movie clearly implies that we're supposed to root for this guy, and he just pushes it way too far, and doesn't get punished for it in the end. One could make the arguement that it seeming like he lost his friends and all chances of winning the talent show might be a punishment...but it just wasn't enough to me. He got his will in the end after all, and I'm pretty certain that his stubbornness might get in the way again, later. We'll never know and I just realized I analyzed a one-note character from a Disney Cheapquel, but...well. Yeah. He's a good character, but also a bad one, if you know what I mean.
Dixie is also pretty interesting, but feels more flat than Cash. Dixie is a divadog who doesn't like working under bad circumstances and likes to have stuff her way, which, logically, clashes with Cash's strong will. She constantly argues with him, leaves after a bit, then wants to reclaim her place in the band out of jealeousy for Copper, which ends up failing. She becomes pretty depressed, but in the end Tod and Copper fix the problem. Let's just say Dixie's...eh. She's again a character that goes through changes (also the villain, by the way), but another one where I'm fairly certain that she hasn't 100% learned her lesson. But at least she had the guts to apologize for it, Cash just did his own thing, hardly said any sorry, and then got his wish anyway. No, Dixie does at least say she's sorry and fixes Coppers and Tods friendship, which then leads to them saving the band. So actually the character who caused the whole conflict actually solved it. Pretty cool, but, again, we don't get much "being nice" of her. It's mostly just her acting like a total beach all the time, and only like 2 minutes of her being actually nice, but at least we have something. Again, it's really these two characters that are at least...mildly, very mildly interesting. They do at least seem to have something more to them. Are they great characters? No, like I said, Cash's a pretty big jerk and hardly gets his punishment for doing so and Dixie is more like a villain who gets a last-minute redemption, with not a lot more to her, but they do seem to have more characteristics and flaws than the others.
As for side characters, there's a lot. There's the band members, two goofy dogs (quite literally, they have an uncanny resemblance to the real Goofy in some shots), who are there for nothing more than to deliver comic relief, and Granny Rose, an elderly dog who's mostly there to be comic relief by acting what is concidered unfeminine. She also has a very mild motherly role to the others, it seems, but we never really explore this. Wish I could've seen more of that.
We also have this cat who seems to be mildly depressed or something. She's called Zelda and is this really annoyed, sadistic and never happy aging cat who hangs around with Dixie. While Dixie is a big drama queen, Zelda just does her own thing and is rather "meh" towards everything. She, quite honestly, is the only character in the movie I really like. Not because she's well realized or anything, but she does have this hilariously, dry-humor-ish charm to her that just makes her pretty enjoyable. Plus her acting as the realistic and sarcastic foil in comparision with Dixie's dramatic episodes is kinda funny.
Chief, Amos and Tweed play very minor roles in this, acting mostly just like the caretakers of the protagonists that appear once every while. They just seem to be in character, but don't really add much, besides appearing occassionaly.
Whoo...that was...much more than I usually say about characters. Well, let's just move on.
Let's just start with them animation: it's...good. As far as these Disney cheapquels go, this is probably one of the better animated ones. I know that the Disney Toons Studio, the studio that also produced the Disney TV series, did these, and that therefore most movies looked a lot cheaper and more like it would fit into a medium-budget cartoon rather than an actual movie, but, over here, it's fine.
I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not great or anything, but, in comparision to some of the other things they produced, this one was animated pretty good. The designs were consistent, it was smooth, etc. Not on par with the original, but much better than some of the other sequels.
There are, however, two things about the animation which do bother me. First, the way some of the lip sync is handled. It's not that the lip sync isn't good, but the way the mouth moves is a bit awkward at times. Again, it is done well, but, mostly on the characters with less-defined snouts, like Tod and Dixie, the mouth might just look a tad too much like a human mouth, like it's animated more on-face than actual canine-like-jaw movement. This is mostly done when they are talking faster on an angle that's somewhere inbetween front and 3/4. Doesn't happen that often, and if you watch it the first few times it might not stand out, but, especially after rewatching the original, which never once did this to the animals, it just looks off.
Talking about stuff looking off...yeah...the style. It doesn't look like the origina. Granted, I've styles seen messed up more in sequels (cough Timmy To The Rescue cough), but this isn't great, either. Amos and Tweed look pretty accurate to the originals, though with far less detail, and Chief looks decent enough as well, but our two main leads of all characters look the most off. First, we'll just mention that they are much bigger than they should be. In this movie, which seems to take place not long before Copper is about to leave to become a hunting dog, they seem to be roughly the same age as Scamp and Angel in Lady and the Tramp 2, the Dalmatians in 101 Dalmatians 2, etc....which is too big. Here, just have a look at small they look at the day Copper gets taken away:
Not very big, are they? Now, how big are they in the midquel, which is supposed to take place before Copper leaves?
Yeah...bigger. Not only are they lightly taller (I can't really compare them to any object or character at the moment, but just take my word for it), the also changed the proportions for a bit. They have smaller heads and ears, and Tod has a longer tail and more pronounced muzzle. These proportion changes naturally make them look slightly older and bigger, while they still should be as young, if not younger, as in the first picture. Why they did this? I'm not sure. Maybe because it is easier to animate or something (though I doubt that), but fact is that, especially if you are making a midquel, this stuff should stay consistent. On, and I think I'll also just have to mention that they took away Tod's different front paw markings. Yeah, in the original he had this rather subtle sock marking on his right frontpaw which was sligthly longer than the others...now they're all the same height. I loved that detail, and now it's gone. Oh, and, yeah, of both Tod and Copper, Tod looks the most off in the entire movie.
I can't go around judging how the other characters look, however, since they never appeared in the original.
But, although the style is pretty...well, not-great-according-to-the-original, we do have some pretty visuals. Again, sort of. This movie is full of sort of's.
The backgrounds look pretty nice. I mean, not outstanding, but hey, we gotta take what we have.
What else I did really like about the background, or just some scenes in general is the coloring of some of them. I like how the farm of Amos seems to be more dark green-pale yellow-ish. Tweed's farm is darker reddish, while the "inbetween zone" between those farms is more evening-red.
The ones where the band is rehersing are mostly pale brown mixed with white because of the lighting, the ones at night nicely dark blue...yeah, I could go on and on. I'm not sure why they decided to stick so much to one color scheme for some of these scenes, but overall they are nice. I guess I don't like the ones with the Country Fair at daylight as much because the colors are really all over the place over there, with all of those people, animals, stands and attractions, but the others look rather nice. But it doesn't save a movie that is pretty meh otherwise. And, while it looks good, again, these bright and vivid colors don't fit entirely to the background of the old movie, which often had more realistic and darker colored backgrounds.
The final visual thing I'll adress: the CGI...it's...less than impressive. Yes, this movie utilizes 3D animation a few times, mostly in the background. The models themselves aren't bad, per se, but they just don't blend in well enough with the 2D like previous movies that did this.
Humor. Remeber that one scene of the original where Amos and Chief chase Tod around the farms because they suspect he was after their chickens? Yeah...pretty much all humor in this is like that. It's mostly just physical humor and slapstick. I believe we have like 3 scenes like that in this movie at least...but, while it was funny in the original because how out-of-place a such a pretty clumsy scene was in a movie that overall seemed to have a serious tone there, it's just meh here. It doesn't feel as surreal and since there's a few of them and not just one (not to mention the smaller part of slapstick used at times), it just isn't as funny. But, if you love slapstick, it could work, I guess.
Besides the slapstick, there's a few attempts at talking jokes...they didn't work for me, but maybe they will for you. My sense of humor is different than the one of most people.
Background soundtrack? Good, but not memorable.
Finally, I'll just tackle the songs real quick. Don't factor into my score of the movie since music is subjective, but I do always mention them.
And front what I can tell they're just meh. Some people will probably like them fine, others, who prefer different genres, won't. They do seem to be well put together and are catchy, like it or not (I'm still mentally humming Good Doggy No Bone ugh.) Most actors can sing well, in some cases well enough. The only one I could really have a problem is Copper, who at one or two points is about to go off-key, but just manages to hold it. Kind of makes you want to half-cringe, half-not-cringe.
Let's just move on. Here, we'll be getting more down to the smaller details. Like stated before, we've got some stuff to get into.
Alrighty, here we go. First off, logical problems. There are a LOT of 'em. So I'll just tackle 'em one by one here.
The most prominent one is probably the fact that this movie can't take place anywhere in the canon of the original, looking past the fact that Tod and Copper seem to be older in this. No, literally, rewatch it. It's made very clear when what happens and how long stuff takes. Tod and Copper never get to even spend that much time together before they are being torn apart, yet here they seem to be together for a long time already, and are together for at least a couple of days in the movie as well, which can't fit into the timeline of the original.
I get that they wanted to make a sequel about Tod and Copper as pup/kit since the sequels are mainly aimed at younger children who, according to Disney at least, seem to love cutesy animals. But, did they really have to mess up this bad? How about they made an actual sequel, not a midquel, focussing on Tod's and Vixey's children, Tori and Tala, who had their own short story. Yes, these are about just as canon as Kopa from The Lion King, but, one, people seem to love concidering him canon, while he is in fact semi-canon, just like Tori and Tala, and, two, Kopa got more or less proven to be nonexistent in the Lion King canon, since we had confirmation that the cub at the end of the original was called Fluffy, and in the second movie there's another cub called Kiara. We have no canon evidence that Tori and Tala don't exist (the closest being Vixey stating in the original that she desires six children, which has very, very little to do with this), and probably will never have it.
But, man, that would've worked much better. We get a sequel that does fit in the timeline of the original, they can use Tori and Tala for the cutesiness, and for those worrying that Copper wouldn't play a part in the story: he at least did in the short story.
And even if we don't get something based off of the short story, at least, they could've focussed on something different. It's not that the original needed a pre-mid or sequel, but if we really need one, make one that at least fits!
Second problem, also kinda has to do with what I just mentioned...where are Big Mama, Boomer and Dinky? Seriously, they weren't even mentioned in this (and, no, it wasn't winter, but late summer/fall during this movie, so Boomer and Dinky aren't gone), nor did they make an appearence.
It's funny because this movie seems to be so focussed on using slapstick humor...well...why not use Boomer and Dinky? They were even more slapsticky in the first movie than some characters here? They would've lended themselves to it.
And yeah, I guess that having Big Mama involved in this conflict might never have even happened, since she was the big voice of reason to Tod and some of the others, but, come on, just not even mentioning any of them goes too far! If you want to write them out, fine, but, since they had such an impact on the first movie, at least mention them and give us a reason as to why they aren't present.
Blegh, I'm starting to think more and more that this movie takes place from an alternate reality that isn't the same as the first one.
Another reason to support that arguement is the fact of how...different this movie is. The original Fox and the Hound was pretty serious and realistic, besides having the animals be intelligent and capable of talking and such. But, besides that, it did show a lot of aspects of reality, and, though the animals were partially humanized, they still acted like animals a lot, unlike, say, The Lion King, where the lions were really capable of creating their own form of society and stuff. First example that comes to mind at the moment.
While the first movie took itself serious, this one...obviously doesn't. We get singing dogs who from a band, dogs hardly acting like dogs, the endless instances of slapstick that, especially the final one, would never fit in the original. Bleh. That's how they seem to roll here.
But..there's more! The main reason why Copper gets accepted into the band at first is because he's a stray, or, at least, makes the members think he's one. What is the convincing arguement he and Tod use for this? He doesn't wear a collar.
This convinces the band and he gets hired. Fine and all...but...why the heck would you? Every single band member is wearing one, or at least something that humans have put on them. Granny Rose wears some pinkish robes, Waylon and Floyd wear collors, Dixie wears a ribbon AND a collar, and Cash wears a bandana. How the heck can you be convinced someone is a stray by the fact that he wears no collar why you all are wearing something? It doesn't make sense!
The singing in this movie also doesn't really work. At first, it seems like this is our Disney movie where we have songs in the background, not sung by characters, like in Brother Bear or Tarzan, but then we get to the band's singing, which, to the humans in this movie, sounds more like barking/howling, and like actual songs to the animals. Alright, then. A bit confusing, and we don't settle with one type of song, but I can look past it...
Until the final two minutes where we see Amos and Tweed listening to the actual sung version of the song...by the dogs. Like that isn't weird and confusing enough, the song also goes from being on the radio to being a background song like the first one...wow.
Also, what is up with the band? They only accept strays...right? Well...yeah...but...they themselves aren't strays.
Looking past the facts that we get no backstory to them and that they all seem to have an owner and wear accesoires that obviously he put on them, why? The only form of backstory we get to them is Cash stating that he and Dixie discovered as pups that they could sing.
Ignoring all the questions that raised about how they met this human that seems to be their owner and how they made it this far, why would singing dogs be strays? They have a talent which is apparently so great that it even can reach the radio (and, back when this takes place, radio was pretty scarce, so it had to be really great to reach it), so who would even bother leaving these dogs at street? Why do they keep calling themselves strays even though they clearly have a home, owner, and collars? Why???
And, last but not least, why is everybody blind in this movie? The humans, not the animals. Seriously, we get animals doing stuff that humans won't usually see in the presence of people, such as a fox kit riding a friggin carousel horse, a fox and a puppy just walking around a Fair like nothing happens, etc. Seriously, no one's even adressing mainly the fox kit just going around and being tame and everything?
More stuff I just feel like I need to adress:
We're going back to Cash one more time. Remember me calling him a jerk? Yeah...he really is. Why, not looking at his will for room and the fact that he barely apologized? Well...for starters he employs kids and is manipulative as all heck. But...what's even worse is the fact that he exploits his band. Totally. And they aren't just all tough, young adults like Cash or Dixie. No.
One is an elderly lady, two are some dogs of which I'm pretty sure are mentally challenged (which is played for laughs, even worse. Ugh), or at least really incompetent, and of course a friggin underaged kid. And he makes then reherse far more times than is needed, and only gives them a five minutes break. What. A. Friggin. Jerk. Seriously. I can't be the only one to hate this characters guts? Exploiting them is one thing, hardly apologizing is two, but being downright abusive to a kid, an elderly lady and two severely incompetent dogs is the friggin final straw. Seriously, did they even think through their implications while writing this character?
And for the Cash fans (can't believe he has those), yes, he does apologize and suffer some form of punishment, but he still gets his will in the end! That's not how people learn. You'll have to learn to live with not always getting what you want, especially if you are as ambitious as Cash.
I prefer Dixie over this guy, while she's much more stereotypical and has less development. If you know me you should know I HATE underdeveloped characters and clichés...but...Cash? Can't believe I'd ever hate a character more than Olaf.
The countryisms, of whatever they're called...never really worked for me either. They seemed to be used for humor, but I just always found it obnoxious for a bit. I never really heard anyone talk like that except Applejack...and having a bunch of characters do this constantly just annoyed me for a bit. But eh, this is a nitpick, I'll admit.
Copper's clumsiness also feels a bit too hammered in. Like, yeah, he was clumsy in the first movie, but at least it was pretty subtle there. Here we have one entire song sequence dedicated to showing him thumbling and falling and stuff. Come on, where is my subtlety? If you just made him stumble over his ears twice and kept the first big slapstick scene in, it would've been clear as water...now it just feels really forced and in-your-face.
And, finally finally, I'll just have to mention this. Yes, nitpick. Yes, doesn't count into my score for the movie, but I just have to bring this up:
even if this would fit into the first movie's canon, the entire message of this movie would still be ruined.
Why? Well...the message of this movie is that friendship conquers all, and it ends with Tod and Copper running back to their homes, to continue their friendship and to be split up and eventually to be enemies. Kind of ruins the overall message of the second movie.
I know that Tod and Copper may or may not have been friends by the end of the original, like, they realized they'd never see eachother again, but they'd always stay friends deep down, but their friendship itself doesn't really prevail in the end: if it really did, they still would've been "real" friends like in this movie.
The Fox and the Hound 2 is a really uninspired movie. The characters are just basic, and the ones that do have some development surprisingly hateable, while we're still supposed to root for them. You know the outcome of the plot already, but it's pretty much useless since the first movies ending will make sure of that.
It also makes little sense, both in continuity of the first movie and even of itself at times.
It does have decent animation, some nice looking colors, and a one or two characters you might really enjoy, but that's really all there is to it.
4.5 out of 10, Not recommended. To summarize, this movie, like many other Disney sequels, is just a waste of time. Go back to enjoying the original already, we won't need this one. Unless you really have the desire to severely hate an animated dog, then go and watch this and pay attention to Cash.