Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This weekend we saw the latest Wes Anderson movie - Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on a book by Roald Dahl. The film is shot in stop motion with little animal dolls. I think Anderson, like me, must have been fascinated by the stop motion films of our youth - I used to LOVE that stuff.

The story goes: Mr. Fox is an adventure-seeker and despite promising Mrs. Fox he would stop stealing chickens, he goes back for "one last job". Local farmers try to kill him and Mr. Fox and his friends and family have to go underground to escape. The plot is simple - what's fun is the characterization and the attention to detail you'll find in any Anderson film.

I'm sure it will be called twee and quirky, as if those are terrible things - my only complaint that it was a little too old-fashioned - I found the lighting/coloration really overly-orange/brown and, dare I say? Ugly? I thought it was a weird choice. It felt like, in the search for throw-back imitation, someone got stuck on the wrong end of the color wheel.

George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman were fabulous as the Fox family - there is some very funny dialogue and great language. All the characters use this phrase "What the cuss?" which M & I have been repeating ad nauseam ever since.

My favorite thing about the movie is that even though the characters wear suits and have little houses with furniture, they frequently "revert" to their wild-animal nature - they growl at each other and tear into their food like, well, foxes would. Ultimately what saves the Foxes and their friends is capitalizing on their strengths as wild animals. I couldn't help but think of that other not-quite-for-children-kid's-movie: Where the Wild Things Are. Must be something in the current cultural milieu that wants to see/embrace children acting "wild".
If you're interested in the creation of the movie, there are a couple of good articles worth reading:
Wild, Wild Wes from the Nov. 2, 2009 New Yorker
and an interview in the AV Club.


mdeals said...

I love intelligent...

andrea said...

I can't wait to see this one!

dad said...

The Foxes haven't ever been in a Geico commerical, have they?

d00dpwn1337 said...

Is that pronounced "miloo"?