Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson's first foray into family entertainment.  Mr. Fox (Voiced by George Clooney) is a family man who has reluctantly given up his chicken-stealing past at his wife's (Meryl Streep) behest.  When he ventures back into his former trade, he finds himself in a war with the owners of the farms who he poached things from, and the conflict threatens not only his family, but the wildlife around him as well.

I absolutely loved Fantastic Mr. Fox.  I'm not going to lie and say that I didn't begin this with some trepidation based on its "family friendly" themes, but my worries were assuaged almost immediately.  Fantastic Mr. Fox is as much an Anderson film as all of his previous work, if not more so, with the stop motion animation serving as a perfect tool for his theatricality.  Almost every "Andersonism" is in the film, from eccentric characters to hapless plans to the staging of the settings.  There's even a character that dresses oddly and yearns for approval.  Fantastic Mr. Fox has incredible voice talent (rare in an English animated film) that is drawn from Anderson's cache of repeat actors: Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Defoe among them, and stars Clooney and Streep were great first-timers.  

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a typical Wes Anderson film that just happens to be animated.  I watched it with a dumb grin on my face from start to finish and was laughing through a lot of it.  Anderson and Noah Baumbach's script was brilliant and the humor was both subtle and strange, like most of both of their films.  I absolutely loved this movie and count it among my favorite Anderson films, if not my favorite.  Sheer brilliance.  I normally really hesitate to rate films at the lowest or highest on my rating scale, but even typing "4.5" doesn't do my feelings justice.  Fantastic Mr. Fox earns a well-deserved 5/5.

Fantastic Mr. Fox: 5/5 stars


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