Bringing the family together just to do something like watch television and movies is something that is almost unheard of today. It seems more and more, that television and movies have increasingly segregated families within the bounds of their own homes. This summer though, Shout! Factory and GKids will release a new presentation that will certainly bring families back together in the form of the French import The Big Bad Wolf and Other Tales. This roughly 80-minute presentation is due out on July 16 on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. While it is French in its origin, the upcoming import is dubbed in English, so American audiences won’t have to worry about reading subtitles versus watching each of the three shorts that make up the body of the presentation. That is just one of the collection’s notable elements and will be discussed a little later. The most notable of the presentation’s elements is its three collective shorts. They will be discussed shortly. The bonus content featured with the collection puts the final touch to the presentation of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. It will also be discussed in this analysis of the presentation. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. All things considered, they make the Big Bad Fox and Other Tales a collection that will entertain audiences of all ages and certainly bring the whole family together once again.
Shout! Factory and GKids’ upcoming domestic release of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales is one of the most surprisingly enjoyable DVDs/BDs to come along so far this year in the Family DVD/BD genre. Originally having made its debut June 21, 2017 in its home nation, its release on July 16 through Shout! Factory and GKids marks the first time the collection of shorts has seen a domestic release. Being the collection’s domestic debut, it is a strong debut that even the most skeptical American audiences will enjoy. That is due in part to the collection’s featured stories. The collection is presented as a three-part play of sorts put on in a theater by a group of animals. The first story is that of three of those animals – a pig, fox and duck – filling in for a supposedly injured stork, delivering a little baby girl to her new parents. The physical comedy that is incorporated into the story harkens back to the old slapstick of the Looney Tunes cartoons and other similar animated shorts franchises. That comedy ticks along at a stable pace along with the story, with the pairing ensuring lots of entertainment along with engagement.
The second story finds a not so big bad fox trying to steal chickens from a farm, but ends up becoming a surrogate “mother” to a trio of young chicks after he steals the eggs from their mother hen. In the process, the fox has to deal with a far less nice wolf (who is introduced through a playing of the wolf’s introduction from ‘Peter and the Wolf’) and eventually learns a very valuable lesson about accepting himself for who and what he is. That revelation leads to a heartwarming finale that will not be given away here. It can be said that the finale will certainly leave a smile on the face of even the most hardened viewer.
The final act of the “play” is a holiday story that finds the trio from the first story joining together to save Christmas after one of the group accidentally knocks down a plastic Santa. Thinking he has killed what the Brits call “Father Christmas” (Santa here in the U.S.), the animal sets off with his friends to play Santa and deliver their own presents to the children of the world. The story’s finale will leave viewers of every age smiling and laughing just as much as the other stories featured in this collection.
Even after the collection ends, there is still something interesting to note. Audiences who sit through the credits will find that a very well-known movie studio *coughs* Disney played a part in this collection, albeit a minor role. There is also a rather delectable recipe for crepes featured at the finale of the credits. The whole thing ends with a frog janitor putting on his own brief dance number for one last laugh before he walks off stage and turns off the theater’s lights.
The stories that make up the body of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales offer more than enough entertainment for the whole family from the beginning of the roughly 80-minute presentation to its end. While the content itself forms a solid foundation for the program’s presentation, it is just one part of what makes the collection so enjoyable. As previously noted, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales is French in origin. Its forthcoming domestic release however, is dubbed in English thanks to a group of British voice actors. This seems minor on the surface, but the reality of the situation is that it is key in its own way to the program’s enjoyment. Being dubbed in English means that American audiences can enjoy the program in whole instead of having to divide their attention between the action on screen and nonstop English subtitles. That full engagement means a full enjoyment by audiences of all ages, and in turn full appreciation for the collection. On another note, a close watch of the collection reveals something interesting of the dub work done for the program’s domestic release. The voice work actually lines up quite surprisingly well with the animals’ mouths. There are so many foreign imports that come to the U.S. every year whose overdubs simply do not work because the actors’ mouths do not line up with what the English actors are saying. It takes away from viewers’ ability to suspend their disbelief. In the case of this presentation though, the dubs and on-screen motions line up quite well, which adds even more to the enjoyment, because it eliminates that focus from viewers’ minds, instead allowing viewers to focus that much more fully on the action onscreen. It is one more way in which the dubbing proves crucial to the overall enjoyment of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. When this is considered along with the stories already discussed here, the two elements together go a long way toward making the program in whole that much more enjoyable for audiences. They are not the only key elements to discuss in analyzing this forthcoming animated import. The bonus content featured with the program rounds out its most important elements.
The bonus content featured with The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales is just as engaging as the program’s primary content. Audiences learn through the director interviews that director Benjamin Renner based the program’s title story on his own personal life. He explains in his story, he felt like an outcast growing up, that he wasn’t what he was expected to be by so many, and that translated into The Big Bad Fox. His discussion on this topic is quite moving and enlightening. Renner additionally notes that the program’s first story, involving the trio bringing the baby to her new parents was also inspired from his own life. He expands even more in the live Q&A session featured as another bonus, he went to animation because he wanted to tell stories, but could not write. That in itself is an intriguing revelation. This critic’s own view is that it is a good thing that Renner pointed his focus to animation, as the storytelling through this collection’s shorts are endearing and entertaining.
The director interviews and brief Q&A sessions are just two of the bonuses featured with The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. Also featured as an extra is a not so standard “making of” featurette that finds a trio of French youths interviewing Renner, his co-director Patrick Imbert and the rest of the program’s creative heads. The children’s questions and actions put on full display, the innocence of children, and will make children and adults alike smile and laugh. As one of the heads talks professionally about how things work in one discussion, the kids start losing attention very quickly. Parents will laugh at this just as much as kids because of their ability to relate to the situation. The discussions on why digital animation was used in place of hand drawn animation are enlightening for older audiences, and are just as sure to generate discussion among said viewers. This viewer is still more a fan of hand drawn animation versus CG, though the work put into this program’s look did admittedly pay off, as it does stand apart from so many other CG animated features. To that end, there is that to the presentation’s credit, too. There is so much more that one could discuss other than what is noted here, but that would take entirely too much time. When everything else featured in the “making of” featurette is considered with everything already noted here and everything noted (and not) in the director interviews, the end result is an experience that is just as entertaining and engaging as the program’s primary content. When that content is coupled with all of this secondary content, the whole of everything makes The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales a big great family feature.
Studio Canal’s upcoming import of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales – which is scheduled for release July 16 through Shout! Factory and GKids – is a surprisingly entertaining overseas offering that American families across the board will and can enjoy together. That is due in part to the entertaining and heartwarming stories that make up the body of the program. The stories’ comedic elements harken back to the comedic stylings of Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes shorts while the stories themselves will touch viewers of all ages. The fact that the stories are told with English dubs that line up surprisingly well with the mouth motions of the characters adds even more to the program’s enjoyment. The bonus content featured with the program puts the final touch to the whole of the presentation with its extra information. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. All things considered, they make this presentation a big great presentation for the whole family. It is scheduled for release July 16 on BD/DVD combo pack through Shout! Factory and GKids. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
More information on this and other titles from GKids is available online at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like “it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.