I love the quirkiness of Wes Anderson films, and that was why he was such a perfect match for Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, and making it a stop-motion film was the only choice for Anderson’s interpretation.
Mister Fox (aptly voiced by George Clooney) is persuaded by Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) to give up his bird catching and killing ways and take on a day to day job, as a newspaperman. Together they raise their son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman) in a hole in the ground. But Mr. Fox dreams of living above ground, in a spacious tree, and the lure of upward mobility, and his old life call him back, and in the end it risks everything.
With the help of Kylie (Wallace Wolodarsky) an opossum, and Fox’s nephew, Kristofferson (Eric Chase Anderson), Fox plans the master caper, breaking into three of the biggest, baddest farmers’ coops in one big score.
Unfortunately, the farmers, led by Bean (Michael Gambon), are determined to exterminate the animals once and for all, and Fox must unite all of his friends and neighbors not only to save their homes, but to rescue Kirstofferson (and his tail).
Endlessly quotable, I’ve been doing Fox’s whistle and tongue click for years, Fantastic Mr. Fox is nothing short of delightful, leaning into a fun sense of animation and embracing Anderson’s trademark storytelling and quirky character styles.
He also makes sure he finds roles for his usual stable of talent, including Schwartzmann, Bill Murray (Badger), Willem Dafoe (Rat), Owen Wilson (Coach Skip), and Adrian Brody (Field Mouse). All of these voice talents and more come together to bring Dahl’s story, updated in unique, very recognizably Anderson ways, to tell an incredibly entertaining family-friendly film.
And this is one of those situations where family friendly isn’t a bad thing, it’s got laughs for kids (who will love the animation) and adults (who will get a lot of the humour that will pass over younger viewers’ heads).
Anderson has also packed the film with a great soundtrack, and shows that animation can be for everyone, and if it’s done right, everyone can enjoy it.
Honestly, everytime I settle in for an Anderson film, I enjoy them, I love the characters, the dialogue, and the feel of them. I think I may need to rewatch a lot of his work in the very near future. It’s just so clever, well-written, and fun.
I’ll be back I’m going to see how many of his films I own…