What does the fox say? well, he swears a lot. He also likes thieving, drinking and lying to his wife. Bet you didn’t see that one coming huh?
Fantastic Mr. Fox?
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion animation film about —you guessed it—Mr. Fox, who is a notorious chicken thief who loves his job and especially how good he is at it. But with a fox cub on the way, Mrs. Fox makes her husband swear off his nocturnal job and to never steal again. So he takes up his responsibility as a father and a husband, living an ordinary and quiet life on the countryside with his family. But twelve (fox) years of peace proved to be more than his wild animal side could handle. So he takes up the bandit hat again and plans one last big heist on the three richest and nastiest farmers in the neighborhood.
As an adaptation of the identically titled Roald Dahl novel and directed by Wes Anderson, it’s bound to have a unique look. That’s my way of saying it looks weird as cuss at first, and just looking at the trailer might actually put you off. That being said, once you get used to how it looks. You’ll see it for what it is, a gorgeous animation with a singular look and extraordinary sense for detail. Which is a perfect fit for a movie about a fox with a midlife crisis.
Yep, that’s right. Midlife crisis. The plot synopsis makes it seem like a simple adventure movie aimed for kids, but it is so much more than that. In fact I’m pretty sure 80% of the jokes will go right over their little underdeveloped heads. And no, their reflexes aren’t fast enough to catch it. A lot that happens in this movie would be considered straight up brutal if it were a live action film. But since it’s about cuddly animals, it’s all good. Fantastic Mr. Fox has a surprisingly witty, even dark at times, sense of humor. With gags lurking around unexpected corners, you’ll be wearing a grin throughout the movie without realizing it. Most of these revolve around the oxymoron of wild animals leading a civilized life, which leads to hilarious scenarios even in the simplest of situations.
The world of Mr. Fox
But like I said, what really makes this movie stand out, is the world Wes Anderson has built. And I mean this quite literally, everything you see in this movie is real. Not the fact that animals are talking obviously; but all the set pieces, the puppets, the painted backgrounds, everything. It makes the world we see, feel so much more immersive.
The characters are believable and their problems relatable. It’s astounding how the movie establishes a convincing society of talking animals in just under 90 minutes. They all have their own behavioral tic(k)s and every one of them is more likable than the last. Especially George Clooney as the eccentric but unfulfilled father and Jason Schwartzman as the pouting, spitting teenager.
Despite being director Wes Anderson’s first crack at the animation genre; Fantastic Mr. Fox is unexpectedly funny, invitingly warm and subtly dark. It has a great cast, superb music and appealing cinematography. It might not be overly original in its plot, but makes up for it in all other areas. This movie is genuinely quote unquote fantastic.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is the movie equivalent of a:
Finally one that you like spending time with on a regular basis. Tell your friends about it, meet its prequels and maybe hope for sequels at some point.
Suitable for: anyone who loves dark, witty humor wrapped in fur.
Not suitable for: anyone who can’t appreciate the fine arts of stop-motion.
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Meryl Streep, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray
Duration: 87 minutes