This French animated film (dubbed, not subtitled, so younger audiences needn’t fear not being able to follow it) consists of three stories which take place on a farm run by animals. The first, ‘Baby Delivery,’ sees a stork assign a pig, a duck and a rabbit the task of bringing a baby named Pauline to her parents. The second, the titular ‘The Big Bad Fox’, tells of how a fox, who is neither as big nor as bad as he aspires to be, comes to mother a trio of chicks. Lastly, ‘Saving Christmas’ returns to the pig, duck and chick as they decide to take it upon themselves to carry out Santa Claus’ work.
Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert, the directors behind this anthology film, would be best-known for their Oscar-nominated animated feature ‘Ernest & Celestine’. Set in a similar anthropomorphic animal kingdom, populated by mice and bears, the film provided a sweet, cheerful and touching narrative about an unlikely friendship – though the film obviously didn’t have a chance of beating ‘Frozen’ for the Academy Award.
As with their previous movie, Renner and Imbert employ a simple, charming form of 2D animation that is akin to a children’s book. ‘The Big Bad Fox’ expands from ‘Ernest & Celestine’ though by also having the feel of a children’s play, or cartoon show, and effectively combines elements of literature, television and theatre in an engaging way.
Mind you, unlike the eclectic cast of ‘Ernest & Celestine’ (which included, impressively, the likes of Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, Megan Mullaly, Nick Offerman and William H. Macy), the dubbed version of ‘The Big Bad Fox’ limits its cast to British TV personalities such as Bill Bailey, Adrian Edmondson, Justin Edwards and Matthew Goode. One feels like there could have been more creativity and thought put into the casting. Moreover, the dubbing can be irksomely obvious.
Aside from the aforementioned characters, the world presented by ‘The Big Bad Fox’ is populated by a range of whimsical, funny animals. There is a dog with a laissez faire attitude towards life, a disgruntled wolf, a proactive hen and some very cute chicks. The pig is a gardener, there’s a MMA school for chickens, and the half-witted, accident-prone antics of the duck and rabbit recall old school cartoons like ‘Looney Tunes.’ Thus, while primarily geared for children, adults will be pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy ‘The Big Bad Fox.’