Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox ★★★

I've only seen two other Wes Anderson movies but I'm yet to become a fan of his singular style. Fantastic Mr. Fox leaves me very conflicted with a lot of clear skill put into it but very little that appeals to my tastes. What I admired was the wonderful animation and production design. The visuals are all carefully constructed and it's a very imaginative, detailed world. 

Unfortunately the script really let this down for me. The endless reliance on quirkiness is something I've never appreciated in Anderson's work, and I found Fantastic Mr. Fox sometimes annoying in this regard. It's not unforgivable in this case (Roald Dahl's novel is also obviously surreal) but two things I love about the book are missing in the film. Firstly the very British eccentricities are diluted into a blander flavour of American broad-stroke quirks and pop culture references. Secondly the book is an unabashed children's story (and one I loved as a child) but the film is clearly made in an adult world and overfilled with details and jokes no child will get. It's not wrong to adapt a children's book for adults but it's not an artistic choice I would have made.

Fantastic Mr. Fox relies heavily on tropes and broad characters to tell its story. As the source material makes up so little of the film, the characters are all expanded upon but these expanded arcs are all cheesy and predictable. They also sadly fail to give the film substance and are ultimately unmoving.

I did enjoy Fantastic Mr. Fox overall, and it was amusing from beginning to end (although rarely hilarious). It also looks great and the animation is stellar. Unfortunately I didn't find it very endearing and the quirky characters and Americanised narrative did little to satisfy me. Fantastic Mr. Fox is more enjoyable than not, but it's not my kind of thing.

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