Well it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I went in thinking I was about to see a heart-warming family film. What I got was less a kid-friendly story then I was anticipating; the tale of a fox and his battle against three nearby farmers. He and his friends join forces to fulfill a sort of mid-life crisis feeling. The story is riddled with random jokes, teenage angst and evil plots. And Wes Anderson treats all of his characters, though most are animals, as though they are humans. All of them walk upright, wear clothing, and have human mannerisms. That’s what really made this movie work for me; he separated our character animals, Mr. and Mrs. Fox and their friends, from the other animals, like the chickens and pigeon’s the farmers raise. So anyway, the story goes that Mr. Fox moves his family to a new home in a tree, and goes through a sort of mid-life crisis; he misses his old job as an animal thief, even though he promised his wife 12 years ago, right before their son Ash was born, that he would retire from such a dangerous line of work. Mr. Fox decides on one last big heist, and there’s where the trouble begins.
He and his friend Kylie, who’s an opossum, have managed to pilfer 2 out of the 3 nieghboring farms when they get caught by the meanest farmer of all: Franklin Bean. He and the other 2 farmers team up and try to kill Mr. Fox, but only succeed in shooting off his tail. Meanwhile, his teenage son Ash is struggling to compete with his cousin Kristofferson, who is staying with the family while his Dad recovers from pneumonia. The character of Ash really stole the movie for me. His development really was the best out of anyone else and by far the most interesting.
The foxes and their animal neighbors are forced underground by the destruction caused by the three farmers, and the rest of the movie is spent running, hiding, and plotting. The entire thing is hilarious all the way through, but less because of actual jokes then because it’s just so incredibly random. Almost very funny moment is due to bewilderment, which works when you see it with the right people, and defiantly with an audience, but I wondered if I would have found it as funny if I’d seen it alone. So if you’re going to see it, take a friend with a good sense of humor.
The animation is a marvel in itself and was absolutely worth the price of admission. Its stop motion and it is a wonder to watch. Anderson has done everything right here; it’s defiantly not Wallace and Gromit. In fact I don’t think I can really think of another movie I’ve seen that looks the way this one does. The music is also perfectly fitted the whole way through, both score and soundtrack.
The only complaints I really had with this was that I didn’t feel like I walked away with anything substantial. Yeah it was funny when we were watching because of all of the random events and one-liners. But did the story really stick with me? Not really, in fact I walked away a feeling a bit cheated out of one, Ash’s character being the one exception. Would I recommend you see it? Absolutely. It’s sharp, it’s funny, and it’s entertaining.
My Londonderry NH net rating, 3 seeds.
Images The Fantastic Mr. Fox a 20th Century Fox Film Corporation (c) courtesy
Visit the Fantastic Mr. Fox website for trailers and promotions.