The animated antics of barnyard animals acting like people has been a mainstay of cinema. This is the foundation of Walt Disney’s fortune with mice, ducks, dogs, cows and other creatures standing on two legs and going beyond the feed trough. The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales has fun with the familiar critters when the Honeysuckle Farm Theater Company puts on a show. They’re a rather klutzy theatrical group, but this adds to the charm of their three plays.
“Baby Delivery” features a happy pig working in his garden when his neighboring rabbit and duck volunteer to assist in taking care of the growing vegetables. He doesn’t want the help since his buddies are rather inept and over eager to use the shears on the wrong things. While the pig is freaking out, a stork crashes into an apple tree. He begs the trio of farming pals to deliver a baby for him since he can’t possibly go any farther until his wing mends. While the pig is reluctant, the rabbit and the duck accept the duty and prove to be rather safety last in their approach to get the baby to its new parents. “The Big Bad Fox” has the red predator unable to get himself any chickens from the farm. They aren’t afraid of him. He’s stuck eating radishes. He runs into his mentor the local wolf to get tips on how to be able to eat chicken. The wolf is jealous because the fox has the ability to sneak inside the farm, so he offers him a tip on how to aim a little lower. The fox sneaks through the fence and grabs a trio of eggs. This plan ends successfully until the Fox discovers what happens to the eggs. The wolf informs him that he must raise the chickens until they are big enough to eat. Can the fox do this since the chicks think he’s their mother?
“Saving Christmas” wraps up the trio of plays. The duck and rabbit screw up and think they’ve killed Santa. They do their best to cover up their alleged homicide. Don’t worry, no real Santa was killed in the making of this movie so younger kids won’t be traumatized.
The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales was originally made as three episodes for French television that were united into a portmanteau film with the stage curtain as the framing device. The stories were also published as picture books in France that were written and drawn by writer-director Benjamin Renner. The animation resembles the illustrations you’d find in a kid’s picture book. There’s a watercolor feel to the characters and background. The English cast of voices includes a few familiar tones if you watch quiz shows from across the pond. Bill Bailey from Black Books is the duck. Giving the rabbit a maniac quality is Adrian Edmondson. He’s best known as Vivian from the legendary The Young Ones. The Dog gets his yelps from Phil Jupitus of Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales is a fun film with plenty of barnyard humor without getting too gross. This is an animated film that a parent can easily watch with their kid and both can laugh at the absurdities of the animal antics.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the beauty in the artwork. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MA in both French and English. This is probably a fun way to introduce your kids to French if they have to take a foreign language at school. The movie is subtitled in English, French and Spanish.
DVD has the movie and bonus features.
Interview with the Directors (9:30) talks with Benjamin Renner & Patrick Imbert. Renner talks about how the part about the baby came from him having fun with the concept of how his brother’s baby was going to show up. They praise their animation team that they had also used on the Oscar nominated Ernest & Celestine.
The Making of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (15:22) has four kids asking questions of the various folks that made the film. It’s a bit of a fun approach as the people have to keep the kids’ attention while talking.
Q&A at New York International Children’s Film Festival (4:35) has Renner talking after the screening. He talks about his writing style and how it developed. He started this tale with the image of a fox having to raise chickens.
English Dub (4:26) has the folks in the sound booth. We get to spend a little time with Adrian Edmondson.
Trailers (5:15) includes the English and French language trailers.
GKIDS and Shout! Factory presents The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. Directed by Benjamin Renner & Patrick Imbert. Screenplay by: Benjamin Renner. Starring: Adrian Edmondson, Celia Imrie, Bill Bailey and Phil Jupitus. Rated: G. Running Time: 82 minutes. Released: July 17, 2019
Tags: GKIDS, Shout! Factory, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales