Fantastic Mr. Fox, another novel by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl may not be something we're familiar with but it’s a story that’s poignant, easy to relate to, and easy to enjoy even as adults. [firstpara] The animated film version of the tale, directed by critically-acclaimed director, Wes Anderson (of The Royal Tenenbaums fame) has just been released, and the short of it is that is it’s as wonderfully animated, and as witty as Pixar’s best, including this year’s Up.
On the surface, the premise of Fantastic Mr. Fox is simple enough. It’s a story about a sly, clever fox (as all foxes are) who steal from three farmers to feed his family.
Underneath that layer of fur, lies the undercurrents of a mid-life crisis, a hint of soul-searching, and the travails of a slightly dysfunctional extended family.
In his youth, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) is nothing but a simple poultry thief, who’s just living in the moment, together with his wife, Felicity (Meryll Streep).
Forced to change due to the inherent dangers of poultry-raiding, and the impending birth of his son, we later see a more mature Mr. Fox, engrossed in his new job as a newspaper columnist.
But just as we are led to believe that Mr. Fox’s juvenile ways has been neutered, the film takes a twist again towards incivility, with Mr. Fox once again planning for a farm heist.
It’s a fun rollercoaster ride from there on out, or rather a wild Tom-and-Jerry chase between farmers and farm-raiding critters. The stakes for Mr. Fox though has been raised, because his tail is not the only thing on the line anymore.
His family and all their furry mates are all in danger too. It’s the kind of fun that you’ll love whatever your age may be, because like Bugs Bunny and his crew, Fantastic Mr. Fox captures you with his antics.
The charms of old-school stop motion animation is in full effect in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Substituting the bright sheen of CGI graphics of many animated features today, Fantastic Mr. Fox leans toward a more organic feel, using puppets instead.
Think Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas or Corpse Bride, or Henry Selick’s Coraline. The animation here is just as enchanting, and fills you with much wonderment. The voice work is topnotch as well, making Fantastic Mr. Fox a real technical treat.
In a nutshell, Fantastic Mr. Fox is exactly what its name states: it’s just fantastic.
WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES