Fantastic Mr. FoxBy Karen Wilson
MPAA Rating: PG for action, smoking and slang humor
Theatrical Release Date: November 25, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
Running Time: 1 hour and 27 minutes
Plot Synopsis: In this stop motion animation adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's novel, the Fox family moves into a new tree just across the field from a group of mean farmers, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Mr. Fox has sworn to his wife that he's given up chicken stealing but he convinces his friend, the opossum Kylie, to help him with one final score. But when the vindictive farmers discover their emptied larders they fight back against the animals, sending them all below ground. Can the Foxes and their friends regain the upper hand?
Sex/Nudity: Felicity Fox announces to her husband twice that she's pregnant. The two kiss. The foxes Kristofferson and Agnes are going steady, much to his cousin Ash's chagrin.
Violence/Gore: The Foxes kill the chickens they steal. In retaliation for their thefts, the farmers attack the Foxes and their tree with bulldozers and guns. The farmer Bean shoots off Mr. Fox's tail and turns it into a necktie. The farmers flood the animals' underground tunnel system with cider. The farmers capture Kristofferson and hold him hostage. The animals retaliate by launching an attack of burning pinecones that set much of the village on fire. Mr. Fox runs from a rabid beagle. Mr. Fox fights the cider security guard named Rat and kills him.
Profanity: Whenever a character wants to swear, they substitute the word "cuss" instead.
Which Kids Will Like It? Elementary age children will enjoy the movie's animal adventures while older children will appreciate the clever dialogue and complex relationships between the characters.
Will Parents Like It? This is a movie that will appeal to multiple generations including parents with its gorgeous, detail obsessed animation, A-List voice talent and sophisticated story.
Special Features: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack special features include the featurettes "Making Mr. Fox Fantastic", "Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World Of Roald Dahl". The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and the Single Disc DVD set both feature the bonus segments "From Script to Screen", and "Still Life (Puppet Animation)", "A Beginner’s Guide To Whack-Bat".
Kaboose Review: The use of stop motion animation--posing miniature puppets and then photographing their movements one frame at a time--is an incredibly detail oriented form of filmmaking. Even though this is the first time he's worked in this medium, director Wes Anderson's quirky aesthetic seems uniquely suited for it. Using an all-star voice cast and a charming script co-written with Noah Baumbach, Anderson's molding of every detail in Fantastic Mr. Fox has created a singular movie experience.
There are so many elements to the movie that delight, it's hard to pick just a few to highlight. Each of the famous voices in the cast is tailor-made for their character: George Clooney as the daredevil Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as his wife, and Jason Schwartzman as their son each completely inhabit their furry doppelgangers. The complex relationships in large extended families is one that Anderson has explored before (like in the dysfunctional family in The Royal Tenenbaums) and even with just their voices the actors make the conflict between fathers and sons, husbands and wives or competitive cousins completely realistic.
The miniature costumes created for each puppet, including the corduroy suit Mr. Fox wears that was modeled after an outfit of Anderson's, are completely adorable. Even the fictional sport the little animals play at school, Wackbat is so utterly original it makes you laugh out loud. This is Anderson's first film made for families and hopefully it won't be his last.
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Cast: George Clooney (Mr. Fox), Meryl Streep (Felicity Fox), Jason Schwartzman (Ash Fox), Bill Murray (Badger), Wally Wolodarsky (Kylie), Eric Anderson (Kristofferson), Michael Gambon (Bean), Willem Dafoe (Rat), Owen Wilson (Coach Skip), Jarvis Cocker (Petey)
Movie poster courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Karen Wilson is a freelance writer living in New York City.