Apr 12, 2010

[Movies] Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

I've been a sucker for stop-motion animation probably ever since I saw that classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cartoon. I'm glad that the art form continues to survive despite all the advances in CGI and other such digital animation styles and I certainly hope that it's not going to go away anytime soon.

I've previously discussed how I tend to dislike George Clooney as an actor and I generally don't like his movies. At the same time, that general rule of sorts was disproved when I got to watch the movie Up In The Air, which was really stellar and yet had George Clooney.

So this is a year for disproving my dislike for George Clooney I suppose. Combining the elements of a stop-motion movie featuring George Clooney resulted in a movie that I really, really liked. I guess it also helped that it had a pretty creative man behind its production.

Anderson in Berlin, 2005Image via Wikipedia
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion movie directed by mad genius Wes Anderson as based on the children's book with the same name written by another mad genius, Roald Dahl. This was one of Dahl's much shorter books and so the writers certainly took a lot of liberties in coming up with the screenplay for this movie.

In the movie, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) are trying to make a new life themselves after giving up being thieves. Unsatisfied with his lot in life, Mr. Fox takes the entire family including his sulky son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) to live in a tree as a way of stepping up in the world.

Their new home is located near the three separate farms of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean and the temptation gets to Mr. Fox and thus he decides to plan just one last heist without telling his wife. Naturally he isn't able to stop with just one theft and soon he's back into his ways of crime and attracting the ire of the farmers.

What really struck me about this movie was how, well, human all the characters were. Anderson was able to assemble a pretty diverse ensemble cast that did an amazing job of bringing the characters to life. They all have their quirks and eccentricities that make them feel very, very real. So yeah, I really liked how they chose to approach the development of this piece.

The animation was nicely done. It wasn't overly polished such that it starts to look like CGI and it had a nice rough jerky feel to things that gave the movie a nice raw feel to it. Plus combined with Anderson's unique style to film making and this really felt like another of his quirky comedic dramas that are far better suited for older audiences. Sure, sure, the kids will still have some degree of fun, but nothing like what someone who can fully understand things would experience.

Everything just came together very well in this movie. The voice acting, the music, the direction of the sequences - everything just worked. This was definitely one of the better movies that I've seen in a while, and I'm not just referring to animated movies mind you. It's the kind of film that I'd recommend to anyone and everyone with a brain and an intelligent sense of humor.

Fantastic Mr. Fox gets a full 5 moments of an opossum staring out blankly into space out of a possible 5.

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