Enjoyed the Cuss out of the Fantastical Film that is the Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic Mr. Fox = 4 and 1/2 out of 5 Stars
Mr. Fox. That was pure wild animal craziness.
I'm just gonna say it. This movie is fantastic. Director Wes Anderson moves into stop motion animation territory and manages to bring his idiosyncratic style with him. Based on the children's book by Roald Dahl, this is a film that blends Anderson's indie style into a very neat looking world filled with fun and quirky characters, all of this enveloped inside of what is being sold as a kids film.
Ash: You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don't have one, but I modified this tube sock.
Kristofferson: You look good.
Ash: Yeah, I do.
It is the story of Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, and his nocturnal adventures at stealing chickens. Upon finding out that his wife, Mrs. Fox, voiced by Mery Streep, is pregnant, he has to put his wild days behind him and do what fathers do best: be responsible. Mr. Fox hangs up his heist hat and settles down to become a journalist and provide for his family.
However, he is too rebellious and too wild. Mr. Fox is going to try "just one more raid" on the three nastiest, meanest farmers that are Boggis, Bunce and Bean. This leads to the main drive of the story, which is the wild animals vs. the mean farmers who have had enough of these raids.
On the side, you also have the story of Mr. Fox's son Ash, voiced by Jason Schwartzman, who wants to show everyone that he is just as much a capable athlete and normal a kid as anyone else. It is a tale of crossing the line of family responsibilities, midnight adventures, and the friendships and awakenings of this country life that is inhabited by Fantastic Mr. Fox and his friends.
Mrs. Fox: Everyone in this world is different. Especially your father, but there is something kind of fantastic about that.
I had such a great time watching this movie. Its the kind of film that you can just watch and smile throughout, laughing at many of the funny sight gags, running jokes, and obscure humor, while admiring the very homemade quality of the film.
The humor is reserved and wry, brought across via idiosyncratic rhythms, awkward pauses, and dialed-down performances. Tonally, it's indistinguishable from previous Anderson films like Rushmore and The Life Aquatic. However, it does play to all audiences, as the meta-jokes only move into the gags that these characters are in fact wild animals, and act as such when the situation calls for it.
The look of this film is all kinds of intriguing. Despite being animated, it is very much a Wes Anderson film, from the way the settings contain all sorts of information scattered throughout the backgrounds, to the individual characters all having very deliberate looks and tailored costumes to define them. With this stop-motion animation use, it looks much more King Kong than it does Coraline, that is it feels much less like it needed to be smoothed out and more like all the little movements that are a result of tiny inconsistencies have made the film feel much more personal. Now, this doesn't mean that either way is better, just that for this film, the look has a refreshingly different and honest approach that certainly separates it from other recent animated films. In fact, the film is very visually akin to old 60s holiday specials.
Ash: There's a lot of attitudes going on around here... don't let me get one.
The cast is great. Clooney is having a great time at voicing Mr. Fox. Streep can basically do anything, so its no sweat for her to be the long suffering wife and have fun with it. Schwartzman is very lovable at playing a very Anderson film type character as the insecure son. Bill Murray gets to have some fun here as well as Willem Dafoe and Owen Wilson in small roles. All of the actors feel pretty natural here and that may have to do with having them all recording together, while semi-acting out the parts, as opposed to being recored in a studio.
Always bringing together a quality soundtrack, Anderson does it again here, combing a very folk-like score with his standard supply of choice tunes by the Rolling Stones and some Beach Boys thrown in for good measure.
While managing to capture the story and essence of what was in Dahl's book, Anderson and his collaborator Noah Baumbach have managed to bring together a story about mischief, family, and being different in a very fantastic way.
Badger: In summation, I think you just got to not do it, man. That's all.
Mr. Fox: I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.
Badger: The cuss you are.
Mr. Fox: The cuss am I? Are you cussing with me?
Badger: No, you cussing with me?
Mr. Fox: Don't cussing point at me!
Badger: If you're gonna cuss, you're not gonna cuss with me, you little cuss!
Badger: You're not gonna cuss with me!