By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Release Date: July 16, 2019
GKIDS and Shout! Factory
The Big Bad Fox (Le Grand Méchant Renard et autres contes…) is a delightful, hilarious children’s book by Benjamin Renner and it’s animated counterpart is just as whimsical. The breezy watercolours featured in this hand-drawn work was very meditative. The poke at simple life was just as illustrious to the work I also recall in the printed Winnie the Pooh books.
The film released two years after the publication (2015) and what it offers are three shorts within a variety show format featuring Pig (Justin Edwards), Rabbit (Adrian Edmonson), Duck (Bill Bailey) and the titular Fox (Giles New, Pirates of the Carribean movies). More barnyard creatures pepper the background and this parable has a lot to offer to keep the kid in me entertained for years to come. This work is all ages friendly!
Parenting woes is the last thing I have to worry about. The main feature is about Fox taking care of three chicks who think he is mum. The laughs are far better than in what Disney’s DuckTales can offer or in Foghorn Leghorn has to face. French/Belgian style humour is unique but I feel there is more of a British flair given the accents of the vocal talents used in the dubbed version, or I can watch this in its native French language. When Renner and Patrick Imbert share directorial duties, their stamp is all over. These two are best known for Ernest and Celestine.
The other two stories are “A Baby to Deliver” and “Perfect Christmas.” I don’t want to say too much of the former, as it offers up a lot of golden age comedy moments to snicker at, and the latter offer similar antics akin to Nickelodeon’s Penguins of Madagascar. “Saving Yuletide” is tough, and all I can really say is save it for the experts.
Owning this home video release is a must. The bonus material includes a look behind the scenes in the production of. The kids the studio brought in to voice the chicks had a terrific time in the booth, plus, the ragtime take of Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 (complete with the ukulele) is a sheer joy to listen to. It helps convey the country bumpkin style of this work, despite being used in a featurette. The Q&A at the New York International Children’s Film Festival is also included.
While not every release requires a lot of material to be put in, the information provided helps gives newcomers an overview of what these talents have done and I hope that they have more collaborative works planned.
5 Stars out of 5