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Fantastic Mr. Fox

Cinema-candy For Grown-ups

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Fantastic Mr. Fox
20th Century Fox
What a fantastic idea it was for Wes Anderson to adapt Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Anderson and his co-conspirator Noah Baumbach holed away in Dahl's cottage in England to write the screenplay, fleshing out the classic children's story into an animated feature length-film. While the result may certainly please kids (though in some instances there is cause for genuine alarm), it's cinema-candy for grown-ups. I left the screening room thinking, I want to see this movie again.
Anderson regulars provide many of the voices: Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. George Clooney is indisputably the star, Mr. Fox, and his movie star persona provides the perfect blend of charm and swagger and comic buffoonery. Mr. Fox might wear fine clothes and live in a house built in a tree, and work for a newspaper, but as he reminds his wife (Meryl Streep), at his core, he is a wild animal.

We witness this again as he devours his food with savage speed -- which manages to be shocking and funny every time. Despite the earnest promises, he also pursues in the reckless hunt of stolen chickens. Fantastic Mr. Fox. is very much an action movie as Mr. Fox and his sidekick Kylie (Wallace Wolodarsky) plot and plan major heists of the three local farmers, who in turn, plot and plan to bring Mr. Fox and his entire community down.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is Anderson's first foray into animation, and the result is terrific. The layered, underground world of the fox burrows resembles the famous cutaway shot of the boat in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. On more than one occasion, the fox family is compelled to dig their way to safety, and how wonderful it is to watch them work at super sonic speed.
20th Century Fox
The hand-stitched clothes worn by the stop-motion clay creatures -- foxes and badgers, rabbits and rats -- are designed by the director himself. The screen is crowded with the minute details fans have come to expect. Not once but twice, we are treated to sequences when the animated wild creatures break out into angular dance. These moments are infectious, even joyous.  

Wes Anderson may have earned himself a reputation for quirk, but his films never shy away from genuine emotion. Fantastic Mr. Fox is no different. The dialogue is sharp, funny, and also and perhaps most importantly, heartfelt. In addition to the thieving mayhem, the relationships between foxes are at stake. Young fox Ash (Schwartzman) wants his father to love him. Cousin Kristofferson's father is sick with double pneumonia. Mrs. Fox (Streep) wants her family safe. And Mr. Fox, he wants it all, he wants too much -- and puts them all in jeopardy.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Directed By: Wes Anderson
Screenplay By: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach
Based on the Book By: Roald Dahl
Producers: Wes Anderson, Allison Abbate, Scott Rudin, and Jeremy Dawson
Starring: George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Michael Gambon
Theatrical Release Date: November 13, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG for action, smoking and slang humor
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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