For the past five years, Wes Anderson's wide fan base has been waiting for his first fully animated film. Would his adaption of Roald Dahl's children's book, Fantastic Mr. Fox appease the same crowd that holds Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums near and dear to their hearts? The answer is an emphatic yes, and the best news is that you don't even have to enjoy Anderson's other work to fall in love with this film.
The story follows the wily Mr. Fox, a professional robber turned family man (er, fox) who just isn't satisfied with his quiet life working as a newspaper columnist. Even a move to prime real estate isn't enough to satiate his appetite for a little trouble making, and Mr. Fox (or "Foxy" as his friends call him) decides to take on the biggest adventure of his life. That's just the tip of the iceberg though, so
Mr. Fox isn't your average wild animal; in fact he's just the opposite. He lives a civilized life with his wife Felicity (Meryl Streep) and 12-year-old son, Ash, making an honest living. Like a kid who can't sit still, Mr. Fox has trouble curbing his desires to rebel and go back to his life stealing squab and running into trouble. Against his wife's wishes, Mr. Fox convinces his dim-witted but trusty sidekick Kylie (Wally Wolodarski) to take on one last hurrah. The crime? Ripping off the three biggest (and meanest) farmers around — Boggis, Bunce and Bean. When Mr. Fox starts an all-out war, he is forced to join forces with his family, friends, and neighbors — and that's where the fun begins.
The film's brilliance lies in the fact that Fantastic Mr. Fox is a movie for grown-ups disguised as a kiddie flick. Even with Anderson's name stamped all over it, there's no denying the furry animals dressed as humans. The animation makes the plot play out like a story book come to life; we're taken deep into the fox hole and beyond in a world that looks like a dollhouse made for fuzzy creatures. Kids will love the adventure and the colors, but the witty dialogue and quirky characters are made for the grown-ups.
The movie features a crew of lovable characters who deliver hilarious one-liners when they aren't breaking into impromptu dances. There's nothing new about a movie featuring animals acting like humans, but the actors make the movie the gem that it is. Jason Schwartzman playing a crabby 12-year-old but using his regular deep voice is genius. Clooney and Bill Murray (as badger, Mr. Fox's lawyer) bantering back and forth but replacing swears with the word "cuss" never gets old (as in "This place is a cluster cuss" and "What the cuss is wrong with you?").
Rare is the animated film with this much wit, cleverness, and chemistry between characters, but Fantastic Mr. Fox hits it right on the head. Score one more for Mr. Anderson.
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