Best Friends… Forever?

Overview

One of my favorite Disney film’s as a child was The Fox and the Hound. The movie had a sweet (somewhat mediocre) plot line and cute baby animals. What more could an 8 year old girl want? Todd and Copper, a fox and a hound, form an unlikely friendship and get themselves into many different troublesome situations. However as Copper the hound dog grows up and learns the ways of hunting dogs, he realizes he must hunt down Todd and ultimately lead his owner to him. Despite everyone saying that the two should be mortal enemies, the two promise to remain friends forever. The two end up in some crazy situations allowing for some elements of slapstick comedy. Although the movie contains some comedic elements, in the end the film can be classified as a coming-of-age drama because although the two are split up, Copper realizes the meaning of friendship and ultimately helps Todd out in a bittersweet ending. As a child, this movie was already full of scary and horrific moments. While Copper is hunting Todd, a large and terrifying grizzly bear ends up hunting and attempting to track down the two of them. Along with the grizzly bear, there are many actions scenes in which Copper and his seemingly stupid and overly violent owner attempt to kill Todd. These elements allowed for me to transform the genre of the film from a coming-of-age animated musical to a more horrific action movie.

Specific Links to Course Readings

Walt Disney’s films are full of signifiers and iconography. They are meant for children who at the time are still shaping the world and figuring out the “memes” of everyday society. The film is filled with tropes that children can relate to. The film is filled with formula cuteness, formula comedy relief, and even formula characterizations. This formula is what we call a genre. As Thomas Sobchack, a professor from University of Utah, states “The genre film is a structure which embodies the idea of form and the strict adherence to form which is opposed to the experimentation, novelty, or tampering with the given order of things” (Sobchack 203). This formula is ultimately the genre. Sobchack argues that these genres are structured around cultural and societal notions and that these cultural signifiers cannot be freed from the genre. This is very true with the classic Disney movie I chose. When Richard Brookhiser discusses the cartoon genre, he immediately makes references to “Cute Animals… The villains have the personality of Hitler joined to the meager arsenal of a unionized schoolteacher” (Brookhiser 55). This unlikely friendship is formed through song and undoubtedly cute animals. The formula of animated coming-of-age musicals involves a villain and a hero. Ultimately, in the Fox and the Hound, Copper’s master, Amos Slade, is out to kill Todd ruthlessly. However, Copper ends up saving the day in a classic bittersweet ending with a cheery song.

 However, while I was attempting to recut the movie into a more horror/action movie. I used a couple different editing techniques than the director originally did. For one, the movie used a lot longer scenes to show the fun and lightheartedness of the film. I chose to create a montage, “a series of shots arranged in a particular order for a particular purpose”(Dick 14). I used a montage of different scary points in the movie to create a sense of fast paced action, unlike the original film.

 Rationale for Creative Choices

Image

One of the many already “scary” shots in the film.

 Transforming The Fox and the Hound into a horror/action film was much more difficult than I expected. All of the horror trailers that I watched first started out with a very normal happy setting. Next the trailer explained something bizarre about the plot, and then finally to full-fledged horror shots that involved scary music and fast paced cuts. I attempted to do this with The Fox and the Hound however found myself struggling. In part, I struggled because much of the audio I wanted to use already had happy cheery music in the background that I could not get rid off.  Because of this, I had to work around that and not include much audio. I started off my trailer with some of the happiest scenes in the movie, showing that they were “friends forever” and using the song in the movie. I then used type to explain to the audience that, “nothing lasts forever”. At this time, I added much scarier music and the type was as spooky as I could find. With the scarier up beat music, I created faster cuts and more action scenes. I eventually went to using shot lengths of almost a second to create a montage of scary images. Also, many horror trailers I watched used the “coming soon” title screen, but was then followed by yet another spooky scene. I, too, chose to use this method and added in a scene that emphasizes the hunt for the fox. The music and fast paced shot lengths added to spookiness of the film, and helped to transform the genre instantly!

Frustrations, Difficulties, and Solutions

First off, let me start by saying that I despised this project (No offense, professor Delwiche). It just was not my cup of tea. I got frustrated easily, not only by the program but also by my own creative choices. Ultimately, I did not have a clear image of what I wanted at the end of the project. I believe this lack of planning and lack of interest made it hard for me to find this project enjoyable. I spent countless hours in the Communications lab cursing at Adobe Premier; however, for future media interpretion-ers, I hope that you find these tips helpful and allow for a better experience than mine: 

  1. PLAN AHEAD. AND I MEAN REALLY AHEAD:

Do not wait until three days before to being this project. I know you are thinking, “but three days? That’s so much time!” Well, its not. When it comes to computers, you cannot even begin to imagine all the things that could possibly go wrong. You need to work on this early and have a clear image of what you want to achieve. Frankly, I believe that the earlier you begin, the better your grade. So get started soon.

  1. CHOOSE A VIDEO AND TRANSFORMATION THAT IS OBVIOUS AND CREATIVE:

I believe that a lot of my faults began with my choice in film. The movie was too closely related to an action film, especially at the end. I wish I would’ve thought of something more creative and something that I would have really been proud to show to the class. Honestly, this choice is the biggest choice in the project. Really think about it and don’t rush your decision.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I hated this project. That isn’t to say that I didn’t learn anything though. I learned so much more than I was expecting, whether I liked it or not. If I could’ve done the project differently, I would’ve chosen a more obvious transformation and started much earlier. I will definitely remember my time in the communications lab and definitely remember how to create sub clips for the rest of my life! 

REFERENCES:

Sobchack, T. (1975). Genre film: A classic experience. Literature Film Quarterly, 3(3), pp. 203.

Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s. pp. 14.

Brookhiser, Richard. “Trailer Park.” National Review: pp. 55. Web.

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