Fantastic Mr. Fox Reviews
Upon the news that he was adapting Roald Dahl's children's novel, using animation, I thought he might have been going a little too far outside his comfort zone and wondered if his idiosyncratic style would actually transfer to a different medium. Thankfully, my curiosity was put to ease as this did not dissapoint.
Based on Roald Dahl's story about a sly and egocentric fox that always strives for better things for himself and his family, while seemingly oblivious to the dangers his quest for status brings to his family. He sets out to rob the three local farmers Boggis, Bunce & Bean of their possesions and attracts a lot of unwanted attention for everyone in the process.
Anyone familiar with Anderson's idiosyncratic style will know that, despite this being animation, his approach hasn't changed at all. It still possesses his wit and charm in abundance. The stop-motion animation takes a little getting used to but once you've attuned yourself to it, there's no let up in the pace of, not just, Anderson's visuals but also the characterisation and his daring in not being constrained by the medium itself. His eclectic use of music and screen captions are also present, making this every inch a Wes Anderson adventure. Credit must also go the voice cast; each and every single one of them inhabit their characters and deliver the sharp and intelligent dialogue to perfection, bringing the little stop-motion animals to life. These little creatures have more zest and life than most live-action movie characters are ever afforded and they add to another odd collection of dysfunctional family members that seem to be Anderson's forte and feature regularly in his oeuvre.
For many, this is actually their favourite Anderson film. Personally, mine still sits with "The Darjeeling Limited" but this is certainly one of his finest, eccentric and most unique moments.
Not only does this foray into animation not disappoint, it actually thoroughly impresses. This is how it should be done. A subversive, cerebral treat for adults and children alike. "Fantastic" indeed.
Now, by how "Fantastic Mr. Fox" has been described so far, it should seem like the narrative would be executed in a sort of clustered but calculated way, right? Nope, Wes Anderson rightfully keeps it clean and linear: it's the perfect balance of whimsical dialogue and themes, and the eccentric personality. Luckily, this linearity's coupled with good-hearted themes and a soft heart. And what a tribute to Roald Dahl's book; rendered to an almost complete picture-book-esque style, the cinematography is absolutely beautiful. The composition, the stop-motion technology, and the colors really pop out of the screen. The style is so overbearingly superb, the narrative just doesn't reach the same caliber throughout. Yes, the pacing is even and the voice-acting is all around great, but the entertainment value of the entire picture doesn't quite manage to deliver the same affection as its style. No need to worry-- it's not overbearingly fixated on art-house visuals that they complete alienate the children. "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is still a lot of fun, but compared to many animated movies out there, it's on the short end of the stick.
"Fantastic Mr. Fox" is a fantastic (sorry, had to do it) art-house animated movie that's firing on all cylinders; it's got a great ensemble and an atypical screenplay coupled with eye-popping visual flair -- just don't expect this to be a wild ride as you would imagine a wild ride to be. The VISUALS are wild and eccentric, and there may be quirky moments within the plot, but "Fantastic Mr. Fox" keeps its composure throughout.
I'm not familiar with the source material, but I found this film to be an absolute joy to watch. It is fun, funny, wonderful to look at, and charming to no end. I like how it even retains many of Anderson's trademarks. I miss the slo-mo though. Coincidentally or not, this ovie reminded me a lot of the Ocean's films. Having Clooney's participation only strengthens that. He's great, as are Schwartzman, Streep, Anderson, and Wolodarsky.
The stop-motion was a great idea, and it looks great too. It is a very difficult medium to perfect, but it certainly fits both the story and Anderson's sensibilities. It's hard not to feel a warm fuzzy feeling watching all of this, and to people who disliked this, it must be either because of a love of Dahl, or a hatred of Anderson, or some reason I can't fathom. This is really good stuff, and it's close to being great.