Guillaume BouchèdeJules Bienvenu...
Benjamin RennerPatrick Imbert
In 1 Cinema
You are five years old, lying in bed, all tucked in, warm and toasty. Your teeth are brushed, you are ready for bed, and your mother reads you a bedtime story. The characters are colourful, funny, and kind of crazy. You doze off happily. In The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales: Bedtime Story, the characters of your bedtime stories come to life.
The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales is an animated French feature about a group of animals living on a farm. The film starts with a stage where one of the main characters, the fox, explains to the audience that the animals will be performing three pieces tonight. From there, three tales about the farm animals are “performed” one at a time.
The first tale is called “A Baby to Deliver” which is about a lazy stork who convinces a rabbit and a duck to deliver a human baby to the parents on the other side of France. In their anger at the fact that they agreed to such a difficult task, the astute pig tags along to help. With no experience with babies, at least human babies, and a long road ahead, the journey was bound to be eventful.
The second tale is called “The Big Bad Fox” and it’s about a fox who has a hard time living up to an image of being big and bad, especially with a strong wolf putting pressure on him. The wolf convinces him to steal the hen’s eggs in order to be big and bad. When the eggs hatch the chicks believe that the fox is their mother, and no matter how hard he tries, they love him.
The third and final tale is called “A Perfect Christmas” and it’s the most ridiculous of all. In this tale, a group of animals believe they have killed Santa Claus and ruined Christmas for everyone. Accordingly, they try their best to save Christmas by replacing him, which takes insane turns.
The film manages to make the characters stand out, when their charm could have been lost in translation. With simple but extremely witty plots for each episode, the characters are lovable, ridiculous and also insane. The characters are also drawn; it is if as though they came out of a bedtime story. This definitely triggers nostalgia, especially the adults who grew up on such tales. This also helps expose younger audiences to a different kind of animation technique.
The main issue with the film, however, is the three-episode structure; it seems somewhat like someone took three episodes from a kids’ show and stuck them together to make a film. This three-episode structure can work for very young children but to adults it’s a bit like taking the movie out of the movie. Also, because the film is foreign and translated, it does not always succeed with its jokes; some jokes are somewhat lost, or at least not as impactful in English as they would be in French.
The film is not a bad one. It would have just been better if it you were a young French five year old sitting on the couch of your living room eating a croissant.