1981’s The Fox and the Hound represented both beginnings and ends in Walt Disney Animation. The film is notable for being one of the last to feature the talents of several of the Nine Old Men. It was also one of the first to showcase some new and important animators, several of whom would go on to make significant impacts in the Disney Renaissance and beyond. Among them include Glen Keane (animator of Ariel) duo of John Musker and Ron Clements (directors of The Little Mermaid), Chris Buck (co-director of Frozen), Tim Burton, Brad Bird and more. The era in which it was released also put it among an interesting array of Disney films. Sandwiched between The Rescuers and The Black Cauldron, The Fox and the Hound doesn’t get the love from audiences or Disney that I believe it deserves. It is a deep, allegorical tale but sadly, gets no attention in the parks and almost no merchandise. For this reason, it seems like a strange, even random choice for a sequel- and all the more unnecessary.
Like such films as Tarzan II and Bambi II, The Fox and the Hound 2 takes an extended look at the childhood experiences of the main character, or, in this case, characters. Instead of picking up where the original film left off, this sequel showcases what it was like for Tod and Copper as they were growing up. The first movie touched on this a sufficient amount, but for some reason, DisneyToon thought we wanted to see more (or wanted to make a quick buck; you decide which).
The story itself is fine. Tod and Copper decide to visit the local carnival and Copper finds his hidden talent: singing. However, as he joins a singing group of stray dogs, his friendship with Tod begins to wane. Like I said, the story is fine, nothing too complicated but also, nothing memorable either. The fact that it is a follow-up to The Fox and the Hound actually diminishes this sequel’s value, in my opinion. The original story is so worthwhile on its own which makes the pettiness of this film shine through all the more. The only notable thing about The Fox and the Hound 2 is the star power of Reba McEntire and Patrick Swayze. Though the songs are nothing special, McEntire sounds great as always, which country fans may enjoy. Other than that, this is one of the more pointless DisneyToon sequels and, unless you are a completist, a hard skip.
Next week, we are watching Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. Happy watching!