I don’t get to catch up on a lot of new movies lately, but I’m a nostalgic person and tend to keep with older movies anyways. I like them, especially when they are classics, like this exquisite animation directed by symmetry enthusiast, Wes Anderson.
Fantastic Mr. Fox tells the tale of an urbane fox that fails to neglect his raiding habits, despite his wife’s request. Relocating with his family to an unsafe area for foxes territories by the three most notoriously foul farmers, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, so foul they have a children’s poem written on them.
“Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean
Those horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were nonetheless equally mean”
Fox and his friend Kylie Opossum outsmart the three and steal produce and poultry from all three farms. Angered and determined, the farmers are on a mission to hunt Fox down no matter what.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson’s sixth movie and his first ever stop-motion. His adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1970 children novel by the same name couldn’t be executed better, especially when Anderson embeds his distinctive visual and narrative styles into animated figurines instead of, well, humans. Had no idea that Roald Dahl is also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and Revolting Rhymes which makes him a very sought-after man.
All animals possess a human behavior and intellectual dispositions, wearing clothes and occupy professions, are comic and clever as hell, yet still showing claws when necessary.
Other than the masterful puppetry craft of characters and setting, Fantastic Mr. Fox includes some of Wes Anderson’s regulars like Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Willem Dafoe, which always deliver. George Clooney and Meryl Streep make a comprehensive Fox couple! Jason Schwartzman as their cape-wearing small-in-stature cub Ash who’s flexing muscles at the arrival of his tall and athletic cousin Kristofferson, The much-loved Bill Murray as lawyer Clive Badger, Willem Dafoe as finger-snaping Rat, Owen Wilson as Coach Skip, Wallace Wolodarsky as hypnotized Kylie Opossum, Eric Anderson as Kristofferson and Wes Anderson as Stan Weasel. And with the Fox’s in the middle, it’s every character that ads its brilliant flair to this big pile of hot mess. Wes Anderson knows messy situations and does them so well. A messy stop-motion is his artful breath of fresh air, I reckon. A movie magnificent in setting, cast, and soundtrack, the story itself feels like an ongoing chasing loop and everyone involved and it gets nuttier by the minute.
The immaculate puppets were designed and crafted by the best in the business, Ian MacKinnon and Peter Saunders who also collaborated with Tim Burton on His Corpse Bride and Henry Selick on his Coraline. Stop motion is without a doubt my favorite type of animation. What I liked most in Fantastic Mr. Fox is that the puppets were roughly designed without an attempt to make them look smooth or computer animated like on the others. They look like a slapstick puppetry act behind the curtains with a punch here and a kick there and very loud comic sounds. Apart from this, you’d expect Wes Anderson to also incorporate a well-composed soundtrack on which you’ll find various artists including The Beach Boys, The Bobby Fuller Four, Burl Ives, Georges Delerue, The Rolling Stones, and other artists put together by Alexandre Desplat.
So like the poster above suggests, Fantastic Mr. Fox was critically acclaimed by many. Although slightly altered from the original, it’s still very well FANTASTIC.