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Movie: Fantastic Mr. Fox

A 2009 stop-motion animated film based on the Roald Dahl children's novel of the same name.

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Truly a Fantastic Fox!

  • Jan 17, 2010

When I first saw previews about this film, I was unimpressed. I had read the book a long time ago when I was a child, but I didn't recall anything about the story. So, why would I be interested in the movie? Plus, the previews were confusing and unimpressive, except for the stop motion animation, which I wasn't sure I would enjoy in a full length feature. Oh, how wrong I was! This movie was one of the most enjoyable family films I have seen in a long time, and it's definitely not just for kids. A lot of the humor is catered to the adult audience, similar to Shrek. Overall, it was light-hearted, charming, and cussin' funny. It has even rekindled an interest in Dahl's book.

From the very first scene, the viewer is propelled into the action. I even guessed the secret surprise, which I won't spoil here. The details on the foxes' faces, the characters' comical expressions, and all the dynamic movements transcend the film to a new level of enjoyment that many fully computer generated movies lack. I attribute these positive elements to the stop motion animation, which breathed life into the characters. What is truly astounding is that all the animals have the same attention to detail. In fact, my favorite character was a supporting one, Kylie the opossum, whose running gag cracked me up in every scene that it occurred. The animals even have signature moves or sayings, another aspect that kept me laughing and smiling as the film progressed.

This film was not all laughter, though. In fact, there are plenty of teaching opportunities for adults and children alike. One of the neatest things that I learned was the Latin names for the wild animals. There were also lessons in forgiveness, growing up, thinking of others (selflessness), and accepting difference in all creatures. In fact, being unique is what makes you "fantastic." The relationship between Mr. Fox and Ash (his son), Mr. Fox and Kylie, Mr. Fox and Mrs. Fox, and Mr. Fox and Kristofferson (his nephew) teach some of the best lessons about relationships as well as drive the film. What makes their interactions truly dynamic are the voice actors. They were all perfectly suited to the roles they played. As I watched, I forgot that these weren't real foxes, badgers, weasels, opossums, rabbits, etc. I was drawn into the world of civilized yet wild animals who were merely trying to create a social space in a dangerous environment. This is as much a character film as an adventure one: You won't be disappointed with all the actors offer: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The villains are especially well-developed; they would have to be to compete with the likable heroes. Yet, the farmers and their rat also have much to learn from the animals. The hardest lesson for them is that foxes are harder to outsmart than they could ever have imagined. Boggis, Bunce, and Bean (the farmers) never truly grasp that it's best to just leave wild creatures alone.

The music also catered to the mood of the film, again made apparent from the beginning scene in which Mr. Fox presses play on his pocket radio to the song of "Davy Crockett." There were some interesting original musical compositions as well. "Petey's Song" was an endearing tribute to the fantastic fox. The music not only sets the mood but foreshadows the great (mis)adventures everyone is in store for. The music was so enjoyable that I would buy the soundtrack.

There were only a few things I didn't understand about the film, which is probably because I didn't grasp the intended jokes. For example, Kylie's fear of thunder and Mr. Fox's phobia of wolves were two aspects that confused me. Other than that, the antics of the characters were easy to follow.

Unfortunately, I can't comment on how closely this film resembles the book. However, I can say that it stands on its own as a fun-filled adventure that will have you laughing and smiling the rest of your day.
He Truly Is a Fantastic Fox! He Truly Is a Fantastic Fox!

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March 10, 2011
Excellent review
March 20, 2011
Thanks so much for the read, Alex!
January 27, 2010
Nice review. Is this really a stop motion piece of animation? I haven't seen it but I just assumed (and you know what they say about THAT) it was computer work like everything else that's coming out from Pixar etc.
January 27, 2010
I believe there were parts that might have been computer animated, but most if not all was stop motion. You could tell it was stop motion animation because there were jagged movements and the ways in which the scenes were put together also suggested this fact. Some parts looked too "smooth," which is when I wondered if they used computer animation for parts. It could have been different styles of stop motion animation, though. Unfortunately, I'm not an expert on the style. I actually thought it would annoy the heck out of me! I was surprised at how much it fascinated me when I watched the movie.
January 27, 2010
I think CGI has it's place and that place IS to clean up stop motion and more traditional forms of special effects. On the whole I hate CGI and find find it very distracting. In animation computers have brought a whole new dimension to the films but I miss the old style sometimes.
January 27, 2010
I couldn't agree with you more! I find it distracting and over-used. I am simply tired of all of Disney's new films with Pixar. I can't believe they would give up the traditional animations like that! I am grateful that we still have traditionalists, such as Miyazaki and Groening who still animate the "old school" way. I really hope this tradition does just die with them.
January 27, 2010
Couldn't agree more. At one time I thought that CGI and computer animation was used because it was less expensive and then I learned that it's infinetly MORE expensive. Costs more, looks crappy, great combination!
January 27, 2010
Simply ridiculous! I heard it was cheaper...why bother? :P
January 27, 2010
January 28, 2010
I watched the film again for the third time and paid especial attention to the stop animation. As far as I can tell, no CGI or computer animations were used. It stayed true to form. There might have been some painted backdrops, but that was it. I really hope you watch the film and enjoy it as much as I did. :D
January 28, 2010
Cool. I've been sort of wanting to see since I can't help being a Clooney fan.
January 19, 2010
I might have to take a look at this film. Sounds interesting. Great job on the review. :-)
January 19, 2010
Thanks, Pard. I really think you will like this film. it's refreshingly "not Disney," if you catch my drift, and it's damn good for having its own unique spin on characters. I especially enjoy the son's character, Ash. There are so many great roles, you are going to have trouble choosing one favorite. I know I did!
January 19, 2010
This sounds like such a cute movie! I've yet to read the book, but I know I'll love it because I love Dahl books, and I've pretty much loved every movie that his books have inspired, too.  Thanks for sharing, Adrianna! :)
January 19, 2010
I'm the same way with Dahl books and movie reincarnations. I'm surprised I can't remember this book, but I'm pretty sure I was very young when I read it. 
January 18, 2010
sounds pretty interesting. I like movies that appear a little different. Nice review.
January 19, 2010
Thanks, William, for the kind remarks about my film review. It's the first one I've ever written, not just here on lunch, but ever! This movie is definitely different, but it's better because of that! You will enjoy it when you see it.
January 19, 2010
I have to say, your first movie review is a lot better than my first one in 2005 LOL! I wish to read more... ;-)
January 19, 2010
Thanks so much! Kind words indeed. LOL, I wish to read more too! I don't make enough time for it.
More Fantastic Mr. Fox (movie) reviews
review by . January 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Boggis, Bunce and Bean   One Fat One Short One Lean   These Terrible Crooks   So Different in Looks   But Nonetheless Equally Mean      One of the things I've always enjoyed particularly about Roald Dahl adaptations is that there is usually something magical about them.  Most of his books... at least the ones I've read are books you read and think to yourself, "They couldn't do it as a movie."  Admittedly …
review by . March 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
  Fantastic Mr. Fox is the crazy story of Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his many wild adventures. Back in the old days he and his wife, Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) would steal birds for a living, and were good at it too. Needless to say though, the fox world was a very targeted species by humans. But on his last job Mr. Fox discovers that he is going to be a father, and this convinces him that his days are over being a wild animal, and he settles down to focus on the family. However, one day when …
review by . January 31, 2010
Just Couldn't Stop Laughing at this Stop-Motion Gem.
It's always a good sign when you're an adult in a movie marketed for kids and you find yourself laughing louder than the restless children in the audience. Albeit, it's a tad embarrassing too, but a good sign for the movie none the less. It's that funny.      It might even be more embarrassing to admit that I don't think I ever read the book in my youth. I get the feeling that this is one of those stories that every kid has read. But somehow Mr. Fox got away from me then. Thankfully, …
review by . December 01, 2009
   "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is a long way from film verite, or anything like it, but it is great fun, full double entendres,   very entertaining and  full of clever commentary about greed, materialism, real estate, big money, power and class warfare. If you would like to keep digging and stretching for metaphor and symbolism, you might even dig out homophobia, racism and military  hardware.   George Clooney and Meryl Streep, as the primary voices, …
Quick Tip by . April 03, 2010
posted in The Family Room
A funny film based on Roald Dahl's fantasy story for kids. Sophisticated, quirky, & a little dark for a kid's movie.
About the reviewer
Adrianna Simone ()
MY GROUPS (AND COMMUNITY):      The following information was taken from the officialCafe Libri Website.   Cafe Libri (Yahoo Reading Discussion Group)is the original Cafe … more
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About this movie


Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 stop-motion animated film based on the Roald Dahl children's novel of the same name. Released in the autumn of 2009, it was produced by Regency Enterprises and Indian Paintbrush, and features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray. It is the first animated film directed by Wes Anderson, and the first stop-motion animated film to be distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Development on the project began in 2004 as collaboration between Anderson and Henry Selick (who worked with Anderson on the 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) under Revolution Studios. In 2006 Revolution folded, Selick left to direct Coraline, and work on the film moved to 20th Century Fox. Production began in London in 2007.
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Director: Wes Anderson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Release Date: November 25, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson
Runtime: 87 minutes
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
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