Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox ★★★★

Bought this on criterion for my pops for xmas...its one of his favorites that he always mentions, somehow he has never owned it. Well, not anymore!

I've seen pieces of it before but finally sat and absorbed the full fox-aganza that is the Fantastic Mr. Fox. Charming, endearing and most importantly, fun, Fox's 11 sure does pull in some clever mischief ensemble heist vibes for the whole family.

In typical Wes Anderson fashion, we have a (Coen bros?) botched crime, an insecure child, an overbearing parent, random macguffins that interplay in funny ways and of course his signature diorama-Ozu camera that seems perfect for comedy-laced domestic strife, as Yasujiro himself once captured.

In further appreciation of the camera, we never see a single tilt, angle or any visual movement beyond the straight horizontal/vertical pan and classic zoom. Wes gets quite a bit out of his single frames and honestly, for how much effort he puts into set design, mise-en-scene, color composition and art direction, I don't blame the guy for barely moving the camera.

Wes wants us to look deep into the still frame and find his little hidden nuggets, paint brush flourishes, visual gags and funny faces. What strikes me as special, is that he encourages us all into a specific form of artistic appreciation without ever betraying a condescending or didactic attitude. We want to have fun with his characters, laugh with them and cry when they cry because they are human subjects, casted in animal doll form, facing our common struggles. The unique form of expression is primarily there to increase our sense of wonder and help us suspend our disbelief; its artistry is so clear and blatant that one may miss it while the plot unfolds.

Far from a dry treatise on humanity or an overbearing lecture on reclaiming kitsch-as-art, The Fantastic Mr. Fox gently nudges your brain into artistic spaces of appreciation with effortless grace. Wes Anderson loves movies, but more importantly, he wants his films to earn your love as well.

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