Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Click for availability and more information Fantastic Mr. Fox
While Fantastic Mr. Fox is marketed to the kid audience it should be said that it is also director Wes Anderson's best movie since Rushmore. That means the discerning parent will enjoy themselves immensely as well. Based loosely on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, it features stop motion animation (remember that?) instead of the slick and sometimes soulless computer animation we usually see. But that's only part of the charm.

Mr. Fox is an incorrigible thief. He knows pilfering from the surrounding farms is wrong but... he just can't help himself. It's who he is. Needless to say his predilection gets himself (and many other animals in that neighborhood) in hot water. The story's main action focuses on how he and his family extricate themselves from danger. Their arch-enemies are three neighboring farmers who will do anything to get rid of Mr. Fox. There are lessons learned and many moments of hilarity but really, this movie is so much more than that.

My insightful wife feels that Anderson possesses a deft touch when it comes to portraying male relationships, and I tend to concur with her. He showed this in his previous films Bottle Rocket and Rushmore. It's touching without being cloying and rings true every time. The relationship between Mr. Fox and his insecure son Ash is true to this form. When his cousin Kristofferson shows up and immediately (but not purposefully) shows him up in his father's eyes, Ash acts up in the ways all parents have come to know. Ash begins a campaign to win back his father's attention that is both heartbreaking and hilarious.

There are also countless smaller touches included here that make the movie so successful: a running gag about a bandit hat, Kristofferson's meditation habit, the game "hotbox" that all the kids play, and so much more. There is an extended discussion on Internet Movie Database about the movie's "little things" that fills several pages. Everyone seems to have their favorites and it takes several viewings to catch them all.

On top of all that you have George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Willem Dafoe doing the main voices. And, it wouldn't be a Wes Anderson movie if it didn't have a top shelf soundtrack. The incidental music, composed by Alexandre Despalt is the perfect complement to the action on screen and the Stones' "Street Fightin' Man" pops up just when you need it most.

This is not only a serious technological marvel (the animation must be seen to be appreciated,) but a clever and very funny film the whole family will enjoy.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on April 1, 2010 3:37 PM.

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