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Monday, November 16, 2009

THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2009) - Wes Anderson

If you grew up any time in the last 30 years, you should know the story of Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox. But for those of you who spent your youth under a rock, three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean want to evict (and kill) Mr. Fox for stealing chickens, geese and apple cider belonging to the three farmers. They try to dig Mr. Fox out of the home he has set up underneath a tree, and in the process also disturb the other animals living there. Mr. Fox, feeling responsible for the other animals’ lives, strives to set up new lives for himself, his family and his animal friends.

This film had a winning formula. A well-loved and widely known story. The idiosyncratic style of Wes Anderson applied to stop-motion animation. And yet somewhere, something didn’t connect. There are brilliant, and truly original aspects to the film. The animation is gorgeous. The story, while transported to the US from England is close-enough to the original story with a few tweaks that can be forgiven. The voice acting (Clooney again, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman) is lively when it needs to be but retains that droll nature we’ve come to expect from Anderson’s films. But something isn’t right with the film. It just didn’t do it for me for some reason. Maybe on another viewing, the film would click with me. But despite my love for Anderson’s films, I just think he missed the mark here. It’s good. It’s just not as great as it should have been.


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