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FANTASTIC MR. FOX, 2009
Movie Review

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FANTASTIC MR FOX MOVIE POSTERFANTASTIC MR FOX, 2009
Movie Reviews

Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Willem DaFoe, Brian Cox, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola
Review by Martyn Warren

SYNOPSIS:

Angry farmers, tired of sharing their chickens with a sly fox, look to get rid of their opponent and his family. Based on the book by Roald Dahl.

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REVIEW:

With a huge amount of advertisement and an A-list cast being directed by Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox (dir. Wes Anderson) was a big bang when it was premiered at and opened the fifty-third BFI London Film Festival. Being Wes Anderson’s first attempt in directing an animated feature length film, I can gladly say right from the start that this lives up to it’s hype.

Adapted from the original Roald Dahl classis book, the story focuses on Mr. Fox (George Clooney) as he moves into a tree with his family in a valley near three very dangerous farmers, Walter Boggis, Nathan Bunce and Franklin Bean (Robin Hurlstone, Hugo Guinness and Michael Gambon). The greedy Mr. Fox starts going out on a spree of thefts with Kylie (Wallace Wolodarsky) at each of the farms and he is soon caught out by the three farmers, starting a battle of wits.

Though the original story has been changed for the film’s ninety minute length, it never looses interest and with many supporting characters to care about, this is something which children will love, as well as the parents on equal terms. New characters are introduced to appeal towards the young audience members, particularly Ash (Jason Schwartzman), Mr. Fox’s son who tries to be noticed by his peers.

One thing that should be noted is how great the animation is used to create such a beautiful, original and atmospheric world filled with bright and colourful characters.

The style of animation used in the film is known as stop motion and is considered a very old-fashioned technique with computer animation conquering the film industry. I was very surprised then that the film deserves a massive achievement for spending a year in production to make a world come alive and one that can easily rival Aardman animation studios in terms of using this artistic technique. I wouldn’t be surprised if the film will be nominated at the next award season for best-animated film.

Using the same team who animated The Corpse Bride (dir. Tim Burton), Wes Anderson directs a very talented crew and this can even rival the other successful stop motion film this year, Coraline (dir. Henry Selick) Comparing the two films, they are both very entertaining and both are some of best animated films this year, but Fantastic Mr. Fox wins simply because it’s more appealing for young and mature audiences, as well as being directed by someone new to this genre who has done a great job and giving something fresh for audiences.

There are plenty of content to keep adults and children alike entertained, giving no reason for people not to like this film.

For the adult audience members, the choice of cast for the voices were selected really well and matched their characters perfectly with talents including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Swartzman, Bill Murray, William Dafoe and Owen Wilson. All of their performances are so good that you never think “George Clooney is playing a fox” or “Bill Murray is a badger, who is a lawyer”, but instead you see and hear the characters for who they are and it’s something DreamWorks should really learn by now. Some of the humour is also aimed at adults and a simple example is when Kylie hands Mr. Fox a titanium credit card to unlock a door.

The children will enjoy the story, the characters and the physical humour, giving them a film that never loses interest and something to enjoy with their parents. With a young audience to entertain, Wes Anderson made sure that there were plenty of physical humour performed by the young characters, including a scene when Ash is learning karate to save his cousin and ends up tripping and rolling over. Children should love the simple narrative and understand the film more than the serious attempts from the last animated smash hit, Up (dir. Pete Doctor).

Overall, the film is a renowned success for it’s old-fashioned approach on a classic children’s book and giving plenty of humour and character to keep audiences entertained throughout the course of the film. Without doubt, this could be the animated film of the year! Well done, Wes Anderson!



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