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Blu-ray Review: The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales

July 16, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Directed by the filmmaking team of Patrick Imbert and Benjamin Renner, who also brought us the wonderful Ernest & Celestine a few years back, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales is a French animated film that is a real treat to watch from start to finish.

After premiering at TIFF way back in 2017, the film is finally being released on Blu-ray this week by GKIDS and Shout! Factory. The film is structured as a stage play that is being performed by a gang of farm animals, with us viewers serving as their audience, offering a trio of charming and delightful animated tales.

First up is Baby Delivery, which finds Rabbit, Duck and Pig tasked with helping a stork deliver a lost baby. Next is the titular story The Big Bad Fox, the adorable tale of the hungry Fox who steals some chicken eggs to eat, but when they hatch, they end up mistaking him for their mother. Last but not least is Saving Christmas, in which Rabbit and Duck think they accidentally killed Santa Claus, so decide to try and take his place to deliver the presents.

With each of these stories feeling like the perfect length at a little under half an hour each, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales embraces its off the wall cartoon sensibility, and unfolds with an often madcap tone that delivers plenty of warm laughs. It also revels in some delightfully dark humour that feels distinctly European, with the characters often trying to eat each other, because they are animals after all.

The comically stylized characters, which were based on cartoons that Renner initially drew as gifts for his family and became the subjects of a graphic novel, are adorably drawn. The film’s watercolour-styled animation, which was done digitally but has a hand drawn look to it, is frequently lovely to look at, with the action playing out against lush backgrounds that have a very soft feel to them. This all adds up to a short and sweet film that is absolutely delightful to watch. I’ve waited ages for this one to be released, and now that it’s finally available, I would highly recommend checking it out. It’s a real treat.

The Blu-ray includes both the French and English language versions of the film, as well as a nice selection of bonus features. There’s an interview with directors Renner and Imbert; the featurette The Making of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, which features a group of four kids interviewing different members of the filmmaking team; a Q&A with Renner from the New York International Children’s Film Festival; a featurette on the English dub; and a selection of trailers for the film.

The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales is a Shout! Factory release. It’s 83 minutes and rated G.

Street Date: July 16th, 2019

A version of this review was originally published during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

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