Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox ★★★★½

I went from liking this as a kid to disliking it as an adult to really liking it once more. Such is the case with me and Wes Anderson’s films. I’d argue that you have to be in the right type of mood to enjoy his work. Rushmore and The Grand Budapest Hotel will always be essentially perfect, but Moonrise Kingdom was my favorite of his for a long time and now I feel I’ve grown out of it. My point in saying all of this is that Fantastic Mr. Fox isn’t supposed to be an all around crowd pleaser like what Pixar was doing around that time (you’re a monster if you don’t at the very least like Ratatouille). It’s the big Wes for Christ’s sake, his previous film was The Darjeeling Limited, which isn’t exactly accessible (I’d argue it’s aged gracefully out of his lesser praised works). I know I’m rambling here, but I love all of the voiceover performances here, specifically George Clooney and Jason Schwartzman, whose self-centered characters are honestly relatable.

It’s strangely a faithful adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl book as well as an effective children’s film, while maintaining the brilliant Noah Baumbach sting with its dry dialogue and Anderson’s odd plot points of violence. All his films are violent, which reinforce the darkness of his stories, but they’re such a feast for the eyes at the same time. The lone wolf scene is breathtaking, not surprising that it was the reason the hipster icon made the picture, it’s a deep, reflective moment in a film that, on surface level, is quirky and cute and may not work for those not in the right headspace. Ultimately it’s a film about coming to terms with one’s identity, and how family is often all you got, for better or worse. I used to think Isle of Dogs kicked Fox’s Letterboxd hyped up ass, but this one is too well paced and rewatchable. They’re technically both made for kids, but it feels weird that they’re on Disney+.

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