film review: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)4 Comments
This is one of those situations where I can’t really review this film as an average person. Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson’s new film. I love Wes Anderson’s films. I can’t help it, there’s something about his films that just work for me. So I can only really review the film as a Wes Anderson fan, but I’ll try my best to think of how other people might see it… I can’t promise anything though!
To start. Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on a Roald Dahl novel, he of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches fame. Well, he’s more than that really he’s a true cult novelist and he really is one of those people whose stories have touched millions (he sold over 100 million books) and when he died in 1990 the world really lost a unique talent. That said, I don’t think I’ve read Fantastic Mr. Fox. I’m not sure because some parts of it did seems familiar, but I really don’t remember… Actually I haven’t read that many of his books at all but I appreciate the ones I have read and in particular the impact he’s had on our culture.
But this isn’t Roald Dahl appreciation hour… back to the film. Wes Anderson’s style is all over this, of course he wrote the screenplay (with Noah Baumbach, his collaborator on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) so it was always going to be in his voice, as it were. But they aren’t his characters or his story so it’s a bit different from his other films. It isn’t as quietly sad as some of them, but it is touching nonetheless. There are the charming, quirky characters that you’d expect and there are the beautiful set scenes that you could frame and put on your wall. Actually I wondering if I could get one framed… hmm… will have to look into that.
When I think about it, Wes Anderson was probably a great choice to direct this film. I had been sceptical as I wasn’t sure what he was going to do with a children’s story. Watching it, I remembered that Roald Dahl wasn’t really a children’s novelist in the traditional sense of the phrase. He didn’t write stories about sweetness and light, he wrote stories to scare, disguist but also delight children. They were funny but they were dark, just like Wes Anderson’s films…
So if you like Wes Anderson then you should definitely go to the film. If you don’t know his films but you like Roald Dahl then you should definitely go to, I think it’s a worthwhile adaptation.
If you’re not familiar with either then I can’t be sure… it’s an interesting story and it’s beautifully told but it’s not entirely a kids film. The palette is somewhat muted so I don’t know if it will necessarily be that engaging for younger children. It would probably be better for kids who would read Roald Dahl novels in the first place – so more for 9-14 year olds.
It’ll be interesting to hear what adults think of the film… rottentomatoes.com reviews have all been positive so far, however there have only been 5 of them so hard to draw conclusions there. One thing they have been saying is that it’s nostalgic and elegent. I find all Wes Anderson films like that but I suppose it’s worth mention if you’re not familiar with him.
Another thing worth mentioning is that it’s filmed in stop-motion animation. I’m very accepting I guess, I don’t mind if a film is full disney style animation, photorealistic animation, cel-shaded animation, live action, stop motion, combination… whatever, I just like films and the stories they tell. I have seen some comments though, from people who don’t like the animation in Fantastic Mr. Fox. I think that’s a bit sad in the sense that someone would dislike a film just because of that… but then again each to their own. I don’t like watching dubbed films, so I guess that’s a hang up I have. Fortunately I can just watch the subtitles… Personally though, I thought the animation looked great, the detail was incredible, that’s another thing you get with a Wes Anderson film 😉
Anyway, I really liked it and I hope you will too. I’m particularly interested in hearing from anyone who’s not familiar with Wes Anderson or Roald Dahl. Let me know what you think of it.