parkergehring’s review published on Letterboxd:
*clears throat* A toast for you. Thank you Badger.
There’s something interesting about animation being considered inherently for children. Yes, children tend to enjoy animation, but why would that make the medium itself inherently meant for them? Of course it does not, yet perhaps children are better at finding human resonance in something so completely separate from reality, a sort of romantic notion about the power of a child’s imagination that those of the older demographic could maybe learn something from. Yet, whatever you make of that imagination thing, it is a truth that children do experience life just as deeply as the rest of us.
Why then are so many of these animated films and stories “for children” centered around animals in human clothes? Do we believe then that children will only respond emotionally when the images and characters are that divorced from reality? Maybe. Yet, when we look at the moving puppet of an especially well dressed fox could there be something more? Is there not something that we can see in the positioning of the animals as people? Something to learn from a diverse collection of personified creatures, each trying to conquer their own flaws while also learning to embrace the fantastic that is their…/;$¿…difference?
Maybe then it takes someone like Wes Anderson to remind a bunch of us adults not only that animation goes beyond being for children (as many great animators have) by injecting a fair amount of existential depth into these animals fighting their natures, but also the joy of things we sometimes disregard as childish. Not a nostalgia trip, but something more complex and beautiful than that. And something still so simple. Something wild and something human.
Today rewatching this for the umpteenth time, I realized the true “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is maybe not the one we follow most of the film. The most fantastic is the one who’s trying to see the world just a little bit different. Who’s trying to be a little better, even as they accept themselves. The one who remembers there’s something fantastic about that. Wild animals like us all.
This makes me feel like fall, and I hope the food hasn’t gotten cold. LET’S EAT!