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The Fox and the Hound/The Fox and the Hound II Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (Fox and the Hound)/1.78:1 (Fox and the Hound 2)
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Rating: G
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 9, 2011
  • List Price: $39.99

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0036TGT16[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Fox and the Hound/Fox and the Hound II -

Purchase Fox and the Hound/Fox and the Hound 2 on Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Films

The Fox and the Hound:
[Rating:4/5]
The Fox and the Hound II:
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
The Fox and the Hound:
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Fox and the Hound II:
[Rating:5/5]

Audio Quality
The Fox and the Hound:
[Rating:4/5]
The Fox and the Hound II:
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Films

The Fox and the Hound:

[Rating:4/5]

The Fox and the Hound II:

[Rating:2/5]

The Fox and the Hound is one of Disney’s most underappreciated animated features. Heck, the fact that the studio itself is just releasing it on Blu-ray bundled together with its much-lesser direct-to-video sequel stuffed on the same disc no less and not even as one of their vaunted Diamond Editions is evidence of that.

But the original Fox and the Hound (1981), is one of a limited number of animated films of a certain ilk from the Disney canon. This 1981 gem doesn’t deal with fairy tales. There are no witches, princesses or magical spells. Instead, The Fox and the Hound is a deceptively simple story along the lines of another more well known Disney classic, Bambi.

It follows animals, keeping them rather behaviorally correct, outside of a little singing here and there and, of course, talking. The story is of an orphaned fox pup named Tod who is taken in by an older lady and nurtured. The mischievous Tod finds his way over to the neighbor’s property where he befriends a hound pup named Copper. The two youngsters become best friends, but growing up and growing apart threatens their friendship. Copper is taken away for the winter by his master to learn how to become a good hunting dog and Tod becomes his prey. It’s a heartwarming story of forbidden friendship and coming of age that has unexpected twists and a rather bittersweet, tear-jerking ending.

The film features the voices of a young Corey Feldman, Pearl Bailey as a singing, mothering Owl called Big Mama, and Mickey Rooney and Kurt Russell as the grownup Tod and Copper.

The Fox and the Hound II, by contrast, lacks all the emotional depth of the original. Created as a direct-to-video “sequel” to The Fox and the Hound and released 25-years later in 2006, it looks and feels purely like a cash grab. Forget about any of the original voices, forget about the storyline about a fox and a hound who are supposed to be enemies becoming “friends for ever.” This one is a hokey story that finds the young Copper and Tod (no, it doesn’t even pick up from where the original left off – after they’ve already grownup) play around, get into mischief, and end up sneaking off to the county fair where Copper becomes part of a stray dog singing group. The young friends’ friendship is strained by Cooper’s new found “fame.” You get the picture.

The voice cast features Reba McEntire, the late Patrick Swayze, Jeff Foxworthy, and Vicki Lawrence while the soundtrack is loaded with a whole bunch of watered down, slickly produced, Nashville-type country tunes, as opposed to the down-home bluegrass and blues of the original film that gave it its quaint sense of authenticity.

The kids may like the silliness of non-stop gags like milk buckets falling on people’s heads and so on as well as the slick, clean, glossy-looking animation, but unlike the original feature film, there will be nothing here to hold the attention of any adults or kids over the age of 6 for any significant length of time.

Video Quality

The Fox and the Hound:

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Fox and the Hound II:

[Rating:5/5]

The Fox and the Hound has been given a typically strong Disney restoration, which is not surprising anymore. Disney has pretty much set itself up as the king of reference quality animated releases, whether its their animated classics or their newer releases or even the stuff from Pixar. The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement of The Fox and the Hound isn’t quite the strongest I have seen from Disney, however. There are a few places where the image looks just a little soft. Other than that, the transfer is quite clean, clear, and full of bright colors and sharp line art.

The Fox and the Hound II is a different beast (no pun intended) entirely. The image is crystal clear, very digital in appearance, and without a hint of grain or video noise. There are what appears to be some slight aliasing at times around the line art, but that is most likely an issue with the source rather than the encodement.

Audio Quality

The Fox and the Hound:

[Rating:4/5]

The Fox and the Hound II:

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Fox and the Hound has been given a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that fills the surround channels with lots of ambience and beefs up the low end with a good bit of support from the subwoofer.

The Fox and the Hound II has a much more active DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that uses the surrounds for some discrete sound effects and engulfs the listener in a more encompassing soundscape. It has big, tight bass and crisp, natural highs with clean dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The Blu-ray only gets one kid-friendly featurette about unlikely friendships in the animal kingdom while the two included DVDs get making of featurettes, a sing-along, and music video. And of course, the DVDs include the full standard definition versions of the films as well.

The supplements provided with this release are:

Blu-ray:

  • Unlikely Friends (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:25)

DVD:

  • Passing the Baton: The Making of the Fox and the Hound Featurette
  • “The Best of Friends” Sing-Along Song
  • The Fox and the Hound II: The Making of the Music – Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • “You Know I Will” Music Video Performed by Lucas Grabeel

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

While The Fox and the Hound is a wonderful Disney film that is truly an underrated gem in the studio’s canon that perhaps deserves an even spiffier release than this, which feels like a cobbled together package, The Fox and the Hound II is purely throwaway, disposable material from Disney’s direct-to-video money-making machine. Too bad you have to buy one to get the other.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product align=”right”]B0036TGT16[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Fox and the Hound/Fox and the Hound II -

Purchase Fox and the Hound/Fox and the Hound 2 on Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Films

The Fox and the Hound:
[Rating:4/5]
The Fox and the Hound II:
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
The Fox and the Hound:
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Fox and the Hound II:
[Rating:5/5]

Audio Quality
The Fox and the Hound:
[Rating:4/5]
The Fox and the Hound II:
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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