Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Roald Dahl (novel), Wes Anderson (screenplay)
Stars: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray
Synopsis: An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers’ retaliation.
Wes Anderson is known for his strange, yet beautiful worlds that he loves to build and his stop-motion animated film, Fantastic Mr. Fox was no exception. The world Anderson creates is alive, intriguing and one full of dangerous life. It’s a world where the animals interact with humans like humans and cuss like it’s nobody’s business. At first, “strange” is a word that barely begins to describe this wonderful piece of filmmaking, but the more you dive into it, you realize that atypical is actually the norm. The parallel worlds Anderson creates from humans to animals is compelling and when they collide it’s even more fascinating. The story is touching and the performances are fantastic and are elevated even higher by an an incredibly fun and energetic score. This is Anderson at his finest.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a charming story that is full of interesting themes and characters that is sure to satisfy both young and old alike. Oh, and it’s absolutely hilarious. The dialogue is witty and extremely clever, especially when it comes to “cuss” words and makes for some unforgettable dynamics. The story centers around Mr. Fox, who used to steal birds from farmers until his wife became pregnant, and is now a newspaper journalist. However, when he learns of three farmers nearby he can’t resist his natural instincts to steal hens and chickens, which leads him into an adventure that involves his friends and family would like to soon forget. The farmers take notice and come after Mr. Fox, which changes the entire landscape of their world, but also pushes them into new emotional territory. Mr. Fox learns what it means to fight for his family and that being aware of the people around him is an underrated value. I see you Mr. Fox. He also learns though his son that being different is okay and that being weird is a value people can appreciate. Perhaps a nod toward Anderson himself, eh? Either way, it’s one heck of a time. Oh, and I found out what the fox does say, and it’s “cuss”.
George Clooney is terrific as Mr. Fox and his charming personality was perfect for this role. His charisma was exactly what this ingredient needed and his chemistry with Meryl Streep couldn’t of been more perfect. However, his scenes with Bill Murray is really what stole the show. There weren’t enough dynamics between the two of them, but when it happened, it was guaranteed entertainment. Jason Schwartzman was terrific as Ash and Eric Chase Anderson was even better as Kristofferson.
This is arguably Alexandre Desplat’s best score, or at least it’s up there. It’s full of energy and life, which elevates every scene. Whether it was fox’s digging through the dirt or stealing chickens on a far, every element of the score was perfect and added a nice touch to the film. The melodies are beautiful and extremely engaging. If you’re not smiling and having a good time with this, you need to get a stress ball or something. This is great music.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of Wes Anderson’s best films, if you like his style and crazy aesthetics that is. Of course, he’s not for everyone, but his unique style shines in this film and makes for a fun two hours. While Anderson does explore some adult-ish themes, there is plenty here that children will love too, even if it’s for it’s goofy music and fun characters. This is a highly recommended film.