Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox ★★★★

It is rare for a filmmaker to reinvent the animation genre. Animation studios have been constantly churning out the same product recycled with improved technology for far too long. Among the high-tech wonderland, there is Fantastic Mr. Fox, a witty, humorous, often dark film from the mind of Wes Anderson and it is a delight.

Mr. Fox (Clooney) is an ex-thief who earns his living as a newspaper columnist. He moves to a new house to start anew with his wife Felicity (Streep) and son Ash (Schwartzmann). They are soon joined by Fox's nephew Kristofferson (Anderson), while his father is ill. Their new home is close to the farms of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean and the lure of easy loot proves too tempting for Mr. Fox. So, with his trusty sidekick Kylie (Wolodarsky) he returns to a life he thought he had given up.

George Clooney is pitch perfect as the lovable rogue who is unable to cope with the button-down life and seeks the thrill. There is a fair amount of self-deprication towards Clooney and the film fully understands the meta humor. Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Jason Schwartzmann provide excellent voice work (Anderson regulars). Wolodarsky as the loyal, confused oppossum features the film's funniest lines. Joining the Anderson cavalcade is Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox who just wants to live a "normal" fox life with her husband.

Fantastic Mr. Fox has been crafted painstakingly with stop-motion animation and it is a testament to the director's love for the craft. It is a visual marvel allowing for trademark Andersonian action scenes and dazzling puppetry. The film has been adapted from a Roald Dahl classic, and along with screenwriter Noah Baumbach, Anderson has created one of the genre's best in a while.

The narrative might be far too thin and Anderson's distinctive eye might prove inaccessible to young viewers, but don't let that discourage you. Anderson's congenial sensibilities allow us to connect with the characters, and we find the odd similarities. The film moves at a fervid pace, and by the time it ended I thought it had only been 30 minutes. While Fantastic Mr. Fox isn't quote, unquote fantastic it is another excellent addition to Anderson's established filmography.

I can't get that Boggis, Bunce, and Bean rhyme out of my head...

Block or Report