Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Animated Film Catch-Up: Fantastic Mr. Fox

For those just tuning in, you've caught me in the middle of my occasional "Animated Film Catch-Up," where I sit down and rent all the animated films I've had a mild interest in seeing, and watch them in one movie marathon weekend.  We've reached the halfway point, where we're watching....

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Animation Studio and Best Known Franchise:  20th Century Fox, who haven't made a film since Titan A.E. tanked in Y2K. 

Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, and Michael Gambon. 

The Source of my Mild Interest:  Truth is, this is the one film this weekend where I am very disappointed that I never got to see it in the theatre.  I love stop-motion animation.  It's a great medium, and it's still kind of rare to see a stop-motion animated film, so I like to support.  Plus, it's directed by Wes Anderson.  Wes freakin' Anderson!  The dude who done brought us The Royal Tennenbaums and The Life Aquatic and Rushmore!  He did an animated film!  How awesome is that?  Granted, I'm not a huge Anderson fanboy...put me down as a casual fan.  But still...he did an animated film. 

Plot:  When he finds out his wife is pregnant, Mr. Fox swears to retire from his dangerous occupation of raiding chicken coops.  A few years later, though, when they buy a fabulous tree home right across from the fabulous farms of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, Mr. Fox can't help but slip back into his old habits.  However, Mr. Fox's raids don't go unnoticed, and soon Boggis, Bunce, and Bean declare war on all the animals in the valley!  Can Mr. Fox come up with a plan to save his family and his friends? 

What I Liked:  Man o man, Wes Anderson's style is all over this film.  From the music choices, to the dialogue, to way the shots are set up...this is a Wes Anderson film done in animation.  That is most evident in the subplot as Mr. Fox's young son Ash tries to win his father's approval.  The style of stop-motion animation is neat, too, as it looks more like one of those British kids shows than the slick Hollywood productions of, say, Corpse Bride.  Some wonderfully offbeat music choices, too.

What I Didn't Like:  The film is so dimly lit, it's almost in sepia tone.  And Anderson's personal flairs do get a little distracting some times.  Like the scene with the wolf.  What was the point of that?

Final Verdict:  A great addition for Wes Anderson fans.  If you're looking for some light entertainment for the kids, this might be a little over their heads.

3 Nibs

And that brings us to the end of day 1.  We'll pick up again in the morning.

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