[Film Review] Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr Fox poster

Title: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Year: 2009
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Director: Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson
Noah Baumbach
based on the novel of Roald Dahl
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography: Tristan Oliver
Voice Cast:
George Clooney
Meryl Streep
Jason Schwartzman
Bill Murray
Wallace Wolodarsky
Eric Chase Anderson
Michael Gambon
Willem Dafoe
Owen Wilson
Jarvis Cocker
Helen McCrory
Rating: 8.2/10

Fantastic Mr. Fox 2009

Wes Anderson’s stop-motion puppet show, adopted from Roald Dahl’s beloved children novel, has evaded from me for all these years, again, I’m not an avid animation fan and particularly into children’s fare, but this winsome gem can nimbly edge into my Top 10 film of the year.

Mr. Fox (Clooney) used to enjoy his adventurous life as a food-stealer with Ms. Fox (Streep), but now he is a suave columnist, they have a son Ash (Schwartzman), and lead a quiet life living underground. Nevertheless, as a wild animal, Mr. Fox cannot reconciled to the quiet life which Ms. Fox urges him to hew to, he purchases a new tree house regardless of his lawyer Mr. Badger (Murray)’s persuasion because three meanest human farmers are living nearby. Later Mr. Fox’s teenage nephew Kristofferson (Eric Chase Anderson) comes to stay with them, whose athletic bent walks away with Mr. Fox’s commendation and leaves a gauche Ash pale in comparison.

Recruiting an opossum Kylie (Wolodarsky) as his aide, Mr. Fox plots one-last-raid to the three farmers’ respective lands on the sly, which ultimately provokes the farmers’ vengeance, lead by Franklin Bean (Gambon), the meanest of them all, and endangers other species as well. Together, animals need to use their instinct to fight back and Mr. Fox must retrieve his tail which he has lost in an ambush, now becomes a fur tie wearing by Bean as a victorious token and rescue Kristofferson who is captured as a hostage.

With all the animals sport an American accent whereas the evil humans with British accent, Anderson chirpily brings the mischievous pettiness into the film’s autumnal palette, the story has its whimsical focus on retaining one’s natural disposition and a correct upbringing every child should receive. Visually speaking, this animation has its quintessential Andersonian opulence, its symmetrical and miniature frame arrangement promisingly augurs his auteurist consummation in MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012) and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014). So is his characterization of the assorted anthropomorphic critters, mostly foxes and rodents, and the only villain among them is Willem Dafoe voices the rat, Mr. Fox’s nemesis. When Mr. Fox and his cohort meets a wolf on their way, he must overcome his deepest fear since his inherent phobia of wolves, and Anderson lends the story such a philosophical angle of exhortation, throws in conspicuous adulthood sophistication onto the family-friendly template.

For those who anticipate a more dramatic showdown, Anderson doesn’t accommodate itself into a traditional story-unwinding, the film doesn’t end in a thorough and edge-of-the-seat payoff, alternatively, Anderson blasé carefreeness finishes this endearing tale with a “we want it more” note. The cast is pretty fetching, it is Clooney’s first voice performance and he is plain fitting, but a quite despondent fact is that Streep can only pair with Clooney as a couple in an animation, in the world of live-action, it will never happen, not in a billion years. All in all, it is rather dismissive to category Anderson’s work as a cartoon for kids, it competently deserves the adjective in its title and is a steadfast stepping stone for Anderson’s propitious standing in Hollywood’s hierarchy.

Oscar 2009 - Fantastic Mr. Fox

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