Fox Fights Mid-life Crisis by Attacking Henhouse: Fantastic Mr Fox

Posted in Movies by on November 24, 2009

Fantastic Mr Fox
Dir: Wes Anderson

Mr Fox, a fox, has given up his youthful exploits as a wild animal and thief in a foxhole, and become a law-abiding husband and father. Dressed in a double-breasted corduroy suit, and living in the English countryside, he is content writing unread columns for the newspaper and talking about real estate prices. But when his athletic and popular nephew Kristofferson moves in with them — making Fox’s son Ash feel inadequate and jealous — Fox yearns again for his adventurous youth. He decides (despite Mrs Fox’s warnings) to revive his days as a thief for one last grand heist, and starts a series of raids on the hen houses of the three behemoth corporate farms on the hills facing his tree-house. The evil farmers, Bunce, Boggis, and Bean, form a team to combat the foxes, and the meanest of the three, Boggis, captures Fox’s tail. The farmers want to destroy all the animals, while the animals — foxes, badgers, rabbits — just want to live in peace. And Fox wants his tail back. As Bugs Bunny said to Yosemite Sam, this means war: the animals with American accents vs. the very English farmers. (In most U.S. movies, villains are easy to spot by their “foreign” accents.)

Director Wes Anderson has been on a downward spiral. After the very good Bottle Rocket (1996) and the great Rushmore (1998) came the lamely annoying The Royal Tenenbaums (2002) and the barely watchable The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) I had just about given up going to his movies. But now comes Fantastic Mr Fox, his exciting, funny, and beautifully made stop-motion, animated version of Roald Dahl’s famous children’s book. It is a very enjoyable movie done in a retro, homemade-looking manner. He avoids ugly computer animation instead favouring a more rustic, 70’s style. The characters have glassily expressive eyes, the grass and fields are comfortably misshapen and imperfect, and the animals’ fur is nice and messy. Even fire and water are ingeniously made from solid parts. It’s an altogether great-looking movie, with lots of visual gags, likable characters (even a villainous, west-side-story rat) and the interesting plot turns, chase scenes, and explosions that delight kids and adults.

One Response

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  1. Simply an awesome film! I just picked it up on Blu-Ray and it still holds up after multiple viewings. Wes Anderson can do no wrong.


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