Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Criterion Collection Spine #700
The cuss you don't love this movie!
I had the unique experience of watching Fantastic Mr. Fox for the first time with a couple kids in my family, and I had no clue it was a Wes Anderson film until the end credits started to roll. I was so impressed with the film, and I especially loved all the sequences where they were frantically tunneling underground to escape the farmers, set to that really comically upbeat music.
This was the first Anderson film I really enjoyed since first watching 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and 'Rushmore', and then being underwhelmed by 'Bottle Rocket' and 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou'. I am really curious to see if I enjoy those films any more now with fresh eyes, and having seen his entire body of work.
I find that Anderson's style of moving the camera to the side at the far end of a room in order to provide depth and then cross over to neighboring ones perfectly suites the story book feel of this film. The painstaking work his team did to bring this world to life via stop motion animation, makes this the most extraordinary film of its kind in my eye. From the detailed textures of the animal character's fur, the realistic look of liquids and clouds of smoke, and the overall fall time look of the film are all great examples of the movie's perfect production design.
"What's with the whistle and the clicky sound? .... It's my trademark."
I adore the Anderson's snarky/matter of fact humor which he applies generously in this movie along with plenty of action. I have found that the film makes me laugh more and more each time I see it. I love the choice to cast George Clooney as Mr. Fox, who is this cunning and smooth talker. I enjoyed how these elegant mannerisms were hilariously contrasted by select moments when his savage side would came out when he ate or got in a fight. It was also so cleverly fun how they were able to give Mr. Fox such an unintentionally threatening full teeth smile, when he is trying to be sneaking.
"I am a newspaper man" "I don't want to live in a hole anymore. It makes me feel poor."
It's a treat to recognize the voices of Anderson's regular crew of actors as they make appearances throughout like Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Willem Dafoe. His dialogue fits them like a glove. And you could not ask for more with him also including stars like Meryl Streep and Clooney into the mix in the lead roles.
"But you're nocturnal, Phil. Your eyes barely open on a good day. ... I'm sick of your double talk, we have rights!"
Just like any Wes Anderson movie, all the music is amazing and fits the mood of his unique and stylistic worlds perfectly.
"My suicide mission's been cancelled. We're replacing it with a go-for-broke rescue mission."
The film does slow down a touch when Kristofferson gets captured, but that ultimately adds some additional tension to the climax and also provides a well rounded story arc for Ash. Throughout the film Ash who is Mr. Fox's son, is clearly seen as being in his father's shadow. By giving him the chance to go save Kristofferson who comes off as being naturally talented at everything, allows him the opportunity to realize that while he is different, he is no less fantastic than his father.
I can't help but smile each time Mr. and Mrs. Fox glow, by lighting up like a light bulb when they discuss that they will be adding a new member to their family.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a masterpiece that I recommend everyone check out, and you may even become a Wes Anderson fan in the process.
“I'll be back.”
- The Terminator
Happy movie watching ... SKOL!