The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales…

 

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This French cartoon feature harks back to an earlier, perhaps golden, age of animation.

 

Big Bad Fox

   

The best thing about this delightful anthology of French animation is that it reminds one of the heyday of US animation starring the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the Road Runner. The visuals have the feeling of being hand-drawn and filled in with watercolours, and yet the style of action is just as violent as cartoons were and still are – with the ability of the characters to recover immediately from being thrown out of the frame. The drawings are simple without being crude, the plotting is inspired and very funny and, for me, this type of animation is far more enjoyable than the current hi-tech output of Disney Pixar.

 

Originally written as three separate stories for French television, namely A Baby to Deliver, then The Big Bad Fox, and finally We Must Save Christmas, here they are combined into one film with a framing device setting them in a theatre with the three main farm animals, a Pig, a Rabbit and a Duck, telling the stories in a stage show hosted by the Fox. The first concerns a Stork who is allegedly injured in flight and drops her baby prematurely into the farmyard. They then have to find a suitable mother for the little mite who is called Pauline. The Big Bad Fox is self-explanatory as Mr Fox starts pursuing the animals in a search of his next meal. Lastly, the trio believe they have killed Santa Claus, so need to go and find suitable things to give the world’s children on Christmas Day.

 

There is a great deal of imagination at work here by the French animators and, in its very appealing English version, there is much in the way of vocal humour which in translation is rendered in a wonderfully British way, especially as the animals are voiced by some of our own comedy treasures including Bill Bailey, Adrian Edmondson, Phill Jupitus and Celia Imrie, etc. Each animal is characterised very personally, the Pig being the one with the brains, while the Rabbit and Duck are just idiots. The Big Bad Fox is a charming throwback to a different age when cartoons were handmade on a human level and not computer generated. These three fables offer a very enjoyable eighty minutes of utterly charming animation.

 

Original title: Le grand méchant renard et autres contes

 

MICHAEL DARVELL

 

Voices of  Bill Bailey, Celia Imrie, Adrian Edmondson, Matthew Goode, Phill Jupitus, Tallulah Coneybeare, Justin Edwards, Alexander Molony, Giles New.

                                                                                                                

Dir Patrick Imbert and Benjamin Renner, Pro Damien Brunner, Didier Brunner, Vincent Taylor, Screenplay Benjamin Renner, Jean Regnaud, based on Benjamin Renner’s comic books Le grand méchant renard and Un bébé à livrer, with an English adaptation by David Freedman, Lyn Freedman and Declan May, Visual Effects Supervisor Thibaut Couwenbergh, Ed Benjamin Massoubre, Music Robert Marcel Lepage.

 

Folivari/Panique!/RTBF/BE TV-StudioCanal.

83 mins. France. 2017. Rel: 3 August 2018. Cert. U.