Fantastic Mr. Fox, directed by Wes Anderson, was released in 2009. It’s based on a Ronald Dahl book that tells the story of a fox whose family and community must face negative consequences when he cannot stop stealing from local farmers.
5 Reasons to Watch
1. Visually Captivating
Anderson’s artistic sensibilities are superb. The stop motion animation is wonderful, as are the periodic drawings when the animals hit electric fences, along with his overall vision. It’s wonderful to watch simply from an artistic viewpoint.
2. Characters are Simultaneously Human and Animal
The cast features foxes, badgers, weasels, a rat, and humans. The human characters are all constructed as bad guys, but they are funny in their own way and definitely will each point back to people you know personally. The animals in the film are smarter and more civilized than the humans. They are all incredibly witty with touchingly human emotions and reactions. Their dialogue is intelligent and poignant (marked characteristic of Wes Anderson is, in my opinion, nearly perfect dialogue). That being said, the animal characters are still animals, and the funniest moments of the film for me where when the civilized animals suddenly spring into wild animal mode, scarfing down their food and digging feverishly. The animation used for these parts is hilarious and reminds you that you are watching a movie about animals.
3. Touching Story
Something that often turns me off from children’s movies is the lack of a good story. This film had that though, with issues ranging from becoming better for your significant other and family, taking responsibility for your actions, the importance of family and community, seeking parental approval, being different, and adapting to change. I think these incredibly human story lines are what had me forgetting over and over that I was watching a movie about foxes.
4. All-Star Cast
If George Clooney and Meryl Streep co-starring in a movie aren’t enough to persuade you to see it, it’s probably because you are just too indie for such major stars (and won’t admit that the two are spectacular actors, even when they’re not physically on screen). But, if you are too indie for that, Anderson’s all-star team of Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and even Wes Anderson himself come out to play. Rest assured there are no cheesy voices pandering to small children used in the film.
You’ll have to watch to understand the subtleties of this quote, but it is extremely poignant and touching even if you’re not a fox.
“They say all foxes are slightly allergic to linoleum, but it’s cool to the paw – try it. They say my tail needs to be dry cleaned twice a month, but now it’s fully detachable – see? They say our tree may never grow back, but one day, something will. Yes, these crackles are made of synthetic goose and these giblets come from artificial squab and even these apples look fake – but at least they’ve got stars on them. I guess my point is, we’ll eat tonight, and we’ll eat together. And even in this not particularly flattering light, you are without a doubt the five and a half most wonderful wild animals I’ve ever met in my life. So let’s raise our boxes – to our survival.”