Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox

One of the funniest, well-crafted animated films of the year. Made for fans of Wes Anderson, George Clooney's awesome dry humor, tip-top stop motion animation and children.

Rated PG for action, smoking and slang humor.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Writer/director Wes Anderson is an “acquired taste” filmmaker. His films (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited) come across as odd upon initial viewings, but with subsequent viewings, they become more and more funny and entertaining. For those already adapted to his unique style of humor, Fantastic Mr. Fox will show that Anderson is still on top of his game.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is an expanded adaptation of Roald Dahl’s (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory) 1970 children’s book. It tells the story of Mr. Fox (George Clooney), a retired chicken thief who has an itch to return to his burgling ways. After pulling off the biggest multi-farm heist of his short fox life, three of the most unrelenting and powerful farmers are hellbent on killing Mr. Fox, his fox family and all of their neighborly animal friends.

Much like a book, Fantastic Mr. Fox is in the format of a book with episodes, chapters and breaks. And although the content – the story, the jokes and the visuals – may not be the most typical you’d find in a “kid’s” movie, there’s just enough of it to keep children entertained. The rest of the content is all for the adults – sparing none of Anderson’s humor, including an innocent and tactful way of “cussing.” The script feels as if it was written for a typical R-rated Wes Anderson screenplay, only substituting and offensive language with the word “cussing.” “The cuss you’re not!” “What the cuss!”

The amount of detail put into the animation of Fantastic Mr. Fox is brilliant. Although filmed with tiny miniature figurines of the characters, the amount of detail put into each individual character and set is so deeply defined that Anderson isn’t afraid to do full-frame close-ups of their faces and expressions. Each fox hair individually moves in harmony with the gentle wind. It’s amazing to see the amount of detail put into the tiny figurines.

Without a doubt, Fantastic Mr. Fox will be one of the films nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. Don’t rob yourself of a fantastic moviegoing experience. Get out there and see it. You’ll might even end up rooting for it take the Oscar over Pixar’s Up.

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

4 out of 5

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