Monday, April 5, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 stop-motion animated feature about, well, Mr. Fox, a clever, cordial fox who just can’t help himself when it comes to thievery. While most of his life is spent as a reporter, father and friend, every once in a while he simply must indulge his love of the steal. This is just fine, until things get very hairy when Mr. Fox decides to go after the three roughest farmers in England. When he messes with them, they decide to mess with him, bringing the whole armada. Now he must not only save his own hide, but those of what seems to be the entire animal population of the area. Will he make it? Can he rally together the group to pull off this great escape?
Wes Anderson is known for his highly stylized, borderline monotone comedies where it seems everyone is the ‘straight man.’ This works very well for his adult movies and appears, here, to transition well into the world of family films. If you like his approach, making movies that appear to have been produced by very creative children, then you’re going to like this one. It looks like something someone made with stuff from around the house and, in fact, it largely was. Anderson says he tried to keep this movie as simple as possible, using everything from cotton balls to cheese to create the worlds on display. The result is a movie that has a kind of quaint easiness to it. The voice acting and writing is as good as the production design as well, with ingenious devises used, like constantly calm voices among the animals and gruff angry voices among many of the humans.
While it’s no masterpiece, it’s a cute, quaint kids flick that feels like it was made decades ago and would be a great flick to watch on an afternoon on the couch with the kids.

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