Movie Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Book adaptations are hit and miss.  When there’s a successful one, like the Harry Potter series, there’s always one that’s bad, like Eragon, and there’s one that should never have been published in the first place, like Twilight.  Regardless, these books help our generation read, so they deserve some respect in the age of instant gratification.  Hurray for literature!

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a movie adapted from a story by Roald Dahl, famous for Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (maybe you’ve heard of them?).  Mr. Fox and his wife, Felicity, are caught in a trap after trying to escape with squab.  She reveals to him that she’s pregnant, and tells him to find a safer career if they escape.  Two years later (or twelve in fox years) we learn that they escaped and have a son, Ash.  Mr. Fox did find a job as a writer for a local newspaper, but he dives into middle aged blues, wanting to move into a better place.  When he buys a new place, he discovers his nearby neighbors are farm owners.  He decides to secretly relive his youth of breaking into farms.

You don’t see much stop motion animation anymore, mainly because CGI makes things a lot faster.  This movie, The Corpse Bride, Coraline, and most famously The Nightmare Before Christmas, shows that if you put the time and effort into something, it comes out completely gorgeous.  The animation is completely fluid, and there are so many great touches, like cotton for smoke and saran wrap for waterfalls.  The voice cast is wonderful, with Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Willem Dafoe, among others.  The best thing about this movie is the dialog and wit, but you shouldn’t be surprised as they’re typical in a Wes Anderson movie; they’re why The Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou remain timeless classics.  Along with Wes Anderson movies are good soundtracks, and this movie is no different, with The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, to name a few.

I love all of the Wes Anderson films I’ve seen (haven’t seen Bottle Rocket or Rushmore yet), and I think this is my second favorite movie of his, behind The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.  The reason why I love Anderson’s films are the before-mentioned wit and charm that his movies have.  Would I recommend this movie?  Hell yes, definitely if you’re a fan of his films.  Even if you’re not, it’s worth checking out.  The only way you might not like it is if you don’t like quirky humor.


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