MOVIE: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

I’m going to start this review out by saying exactly the same thing I always say whenever I watch and then review an animated film:  “I don’t really like animated films all that much.  I mean, I like them okay, but I rarely seek them out specifically.”

Then, as usual, I will continue on by saying:  “The weird thing is, whenever I see one, I almost always LOVE IT.  Why am I so stupid?  Why don’t I seek these out?  When will I learn that I love them?  Will I learn this time?  Pfft, doubtful.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.”

I don’t know why I’m always so mean to myself about it.  Really?  “Stupid,” Meg?  That’s not very nice.  Just seeking.  Just learning.  Still learning.  Working on it.

And Fantastic Mr. Fox is an excellent lesson.  This movie is brilliant — strange, clever, engaging, and hilarious.  Perfectly so.  I can’t think of a single thing I did not love about it.  Not one.

Based on the Roald Dahl tale of the same name, it’s about a young fox named Ash (Jason Schwartzman) trying to earn the respect of his father, Mr. Fox (George Clooney), a newspaperman who is also “a wild animal” addicted to the thrill of stealing squab.  Ash is small and cerebral, and when his cousin, karate expert Kristofferson (Eric Chase Anderson) shows up and starts getting all the praise from Mr. Fox that Ash wanted for himself, he is spurred into taking greater and greater risks.  Pushing himself.  Trying to find the Ash he wants to be.  Or, at least, the Ash he thinks his father wants him to be.  (Don’t worry, parents, he learns the right lesson about that in the end.)

It’s a great, classic story, and it’s translated to the big screen wonderfully here by Wes Anderson’s weird, awesome brain.  The animation is stop-motion, which is a format I’m not terribly familiar with and found extremely impressive (I couldn’t figure out how they did some of it, in fact, like when the characters do flips and there isn’t a single break in the motion — amazing!) and the dialogue is absolutely sharp as a cussin’ tack.

If you, like me, are sort of hum-dee-hum-hum about animated films, do yourself an enormous favor tonight and go rent this one.  Watch it with your kids (though, warning, there are a few scary scenes in this), watch it with your spouse, watch it with your neighbor who you barely know but wish you could be friends with.

I envy you — you’re about to have a perfectly splendid evening.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Kids, Animation
Cast:  George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Eric Anderson, Owen Wilson

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3 Responses to “MOVIE: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)”

  1. Dreher Bear (...Where The Buffalo Roam) Says:

    Fantastic Mr. Fox is such an amazing film! I really enjoyed every aspect of the film (music, stop-motion, story, etc). Just picked it up on Blu-Ray a few days ago and it still holds up after multiple viewings.

  2. Lisa Says:

    the music was outstanding. i am a long-time wes anderson fan-girl, and his musical choices never fail to please. and the casting! meryl streep, george clooney, bill murray [the badger lawyer — poifect], jason schwartzman…jason in particular was just note-perfect as an insecure kit. just loved this movie so much.

  3. Gail Says:

    Well, I’ll have to agree to disagree with you on this one. It was all I could do to stay awake through the ever-so-predictable ending of this ever-so-predictable movie. I love Roald Dahl, but this adaptation was lame and did not engage me at all.

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