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Wes Anderson’s stop motion animated comedy film Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) is a joyful family feature for everyone. Wes plays off of the Western and heist genres. The whistles and snaps in Alexandre Desplat’s score are straight out of Western music with the empty street encounter showdowns as well. Anderson takes Roald Dahl’s delight’s children’s book and brings it to life with resplendent claymation and adorable optimism. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a story about love of family and achieving your potential. I think any child could learn about working together and communicating your feelings better like Mr. Fox. It’s a wonderful kids movie and a fine piece of filmmaking from Wes.
Wes Anderson’s direction is stellar with fast pacing and silly humor for this pleasant 87 minute picture. Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach’s script is full of clever references and criticisms of capitalist farmers with no regard for the animal life surrounding them. I love how the animals talk. They’re personified, so that viewers can relate to their family drama regardless of their furry state of being. Tristan Oliver’s cinematography matches Anderson’s early symmetrical framing and with plenty of fun wide shots. I like the brave close-up shots that showcase how detailed the puppets are in fur and eye realism. Their expressions are lifelike to people. I really have to hand it to Wes’ animation team. They crafted one of the greatest animated features ever.
George Clooney is brilliant as the sly Mr. Fox. His sense of humor and good nature come across his splendid voice work as the lead wild animal in Wes Anderson’s magical little comedy. Clooney plays Mr. Fox as completely cool and calculating like he’s Danny Ocean with fur. Meryl Streep is phenomenal as Felicity Fox with her stern mood, rising temper, and tender affection as Mr. Fox’s beloved wife. Jason Schwartzman is fun as the moody and jealous Ash Fox. Bill Murray is excellent as the scolding Clive Badger. Willem Dafoe is strange and threatening as the complex Rat.
Furthermore, I like the relaxed Owen Wilson as the passive aggressive Coach Skip. Wallace Wolodarsky as the shy and steadfast opossum. Eric Chase Anderson is excellent as the skillful natural Kristofferson Silverfox. Michael Gambon is fearsome as the cruel farmer Franklin Bean. Wes Anderson himself is fun as the real estate agent Stan Weasel. Juman Malouf, Wes’ wife, is sweet as the quiet Agnus the fox. Roman Coppola is the squirrel contractor and Brian Cox cameos as the reporter’s voice. Who else could you want? How about Adrien Brody as an adorable field mouse?
Last year my daughter rented this film from the library, I passed it off as just another "kids movie" and didn't really pay attention to it, only catching tidbits here and there while she was watching it. Weeks later, I couldn't explain it but I just could not get this movie out of my head. I decided to buy it for her, and discovered that this Criterion release would be coming out soon so I figured I'd just wait for it. It wasn't until later that I discovered that it was a Wes Anderson film. I guess that explains why this movie stuck with me after only seeing parts of it. Wes Anderson is the kind of director that - if his movie manages to get inside your head, it won't get out. Not everybody enjoys his brand of humor - I do and this was a Fantastic movie!