Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox ★★★★★

In or around 2009-2010, a childhood favourite of mine and my siblings would be firmly established, leading to repeat viewings over the years, and quite possibly even laying the foundation for my tastes in the films I watch and ponder over. I never saw Fantastic Mr. Fox in theatres (I was 6 or 7 at the time it first released), but did at home, most certainly from airing on TV. Hell, I wouldn’t even be surprised if I brimmed with excitement in its lead up to release, with how from even such a young age, I tended to look at news and rumours online regarding forthcoming film releases. 

Fantastic Mr. Fox is very well one of the most important films I’ve ever seen. It introduced me to different things in one concise feature, from stop-motion animation (alongside Coraline) to the films of Wes Anderson. It showed me a world with animated talking animals that displayed a level of maturity and complexness that I had never seen before, and arguably since. Its utter strangeness, from the story and world presented to the memorable stylistic decisions captured from scene to scene, captivated me and my growing mind at the time, sticking with me for years to come and up to present day. 

Ever since I joined Letterboxd, I’ve always wanted to revisit this film in particular and write a worthwhile summation of my thoughts and history surrounding it, why it means so much to me and why I adore it incredibly so. It’s one of my most-viewed films ever, having watched it many times growing up to the point where I lost track ages ago. With my first viewing going all the way back to 2009/2010, it’s more or less among the first films I’ve ever seen. If memory serves me correct, I last saw it in December of 2019 or 2020, meaning that another viewing felt long overdue. Plus, I’ve been in possession of its Criterion for well over a year. 

Simply put, I find Fantastic Mr. Fox to be a magnificent, cozy work of film, full of warmth from its scenery to its characters, as well as the immense effort put into its creation. To my surprise on this viewing, from childhood memories to the unending adoration I have towards it, a smile wormed its way onto my face from the second the film began, lasting for nearly the entire duration. 

The film contains a cast of insanely-memorable characters who are given life by an incredible crew, and a varied cast of rich, unique voices. Impeccable voice acting from everyone involved is clear all throughout, with George Clooney and Meryl Streep doing terrifically well as the titular lead and his wife respectively. Much of the remaining cast consists of Wes Anderson regulars, who all do well alongside everyone else. The animation on display is phenomenal. Beautiful shots boasting Anderson’s signature symmetry and style, every single strand of fur captured on camera, and gorgeous environments and lighting, bolstered by many delightful colours and palettes. Between its style and stop-motion nature, I deem it one of my favourite animated features, period. 

As with his other films, Wes Anderson’s direction oozes charm, as his stylistic choices in visuals are retained and refined, while putting forth a film with a fairly quickened pace, clocking in at just under 90 minutes. On this very viewing, after seeing it so many times and launching me into the fantastical world of film, I learned that Noah Baumbach wrote the script alongside Anderson. It in particular contains a number of memorable lines, while also conveying themes that have stuck with me for the longest time. Alexandre Desplat’s score, plus the use of pre-existing music, both fit well with the film’s overall tone, the tunes of which have lingered in my head for years, suddenly popping in from time to time. 

Even after seeing the rest of Wes Anderson’s films now, Fantastic Mr. Fox will always remain my favourite work of his. And if something new from Anderson comes along to rival that status, it’s going to be one hell of a fight. 

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