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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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Just Couldn't Stop Laughing at this Stop-Motion Gem.

  • Jan 31, 2010
  • by

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, this time around, I nabbed him.

As it turns out The Fantastic Mr. Fox is a family man who just can't shake his cleptomanical nature that presumably runs in the genes of all foxes. The man can't help it – he has to steal chickens. And cider.
It's hard to blame him for not putting down something that he's really good at. He's able to concoct convoluted, colorful strategies that usually go according to plan. Usually. His accomplice is a spaced-out possum who lacks the guile of Mr. Fox, but that's okay. Mr. Fox has more then enough brains to make up for the two of them. What he lacks is restraint. Consequently, he does two things that every thief is prone to do: 1) Get greedy. 2) Return to the scene of the crime. The second offense is the worst. Mr. Fox has looted-out three farmers who do not part ways with their products and property easily. War is declared, and much to the dismay of Mr. Fox, his family and friends are dragged into the mess he created. The chase is on.

But these are foxes. So the chase doesn't happen above ground. Instead, they go underground. Digging so deep that the background scenery takes on undiscovered cave drawings. Weeks later they dig even deeper, taking refuge among fossils from, I don't know, maybe the Jurassic period. That's how determined these farmers are to get Mr. Fox and his kin – and how desperate Mr. Fox and friends are to get away. Such is the survival story of Mr. Fox and the clever humor of the movie. I've always been a fan of subtle humor; preferring to be teased and not bludgeoned with a punch-line. In which case, Fantastic Mr. Fox is my kind of movie. The jokes are not at all belabored. They not only move fast, but they move on. So if you miss one, not to worry. Another one is right behind it. Between the fast-talking Mr. Fox, his spaced-out possum partner and the great gags lingering around in the background, I found it hard to not laugh through the whole movie.

Wes Anderson, the director, was wise to go with the voice of George Clooney as our clepto-hero. Clooney's smooth talking, slightly grainy voice is perfect for an animal that is just a little too smooth to be wholly wild and a little too wild to be tame and domesticated. Every line by Clooney is delivered pitch-perfect and I think it says something about ol' boy that he plays a crafty fox so well. People magazine may have voted Clooney as sexiest man alive some years ago, but I nominate him as sharpest man alive. He's as sharp as a whip.. and a fox.

Last but not least, there's something refreshing about seeing a movie in stop-motion. Not that I have anything against 3D animation, but there's so much of it that I almost forgot that there were other ways of bringing characters to life on the screen. Unfortunately, this one may not be on the big screen for much longer, since it has only pulled in $20 million at the Box Office. But maybe it's better to have this one on DVD anyway. It seems like the kind of movie that gets even better on multiple viewings. Not to mention, I can look forward to laughing as loud as I want without worry of exceeding the sounds of kids and rustling popcorn bags by a few decibels.

Just Couldn't Stop Laughing at this Stop-Motion Gem. Just Couldn't Stop Laughing at this Stop-Motion Gem. Just Couldn't Stop Laughing at this Stop-Motion Gem.

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March 31, 2010
Great review. This sounds like something I should rent the next time the twins come to spend the night. You don't get much high quality stop-motion these days and I DO love me some stop-motion!
April 01, 2010
My nephew is so young he didn't even really know what stop motion was. He looked over at me and asked, "what kind of animation is this?" Man... the times are a changin'
February 01, 2010
The first time that I saw a preview for this, I ignored it and wasn't going to bother seeing it. However, repeated viewings of different previews have since changed my mind. I'm looking forward to its DVD release. Great review.
February 01, 2010
Yeah, the trailers really didn't do this movie justice. It certainly wasn't the trailer that got me in to to see this one. Just a random pick really. Too bad, because there certainly was something refreshing about this movie. Something more then just it being stop-motion. Probably an overall well-rounded combination of good story and really, really good and funny characters.
January 31, 2010
Surprised at your rating...maybe I was wrong on this one. I guess I should consider watching it when it hits video.
January 31, 2010
Definitely consider it. I passed on it too initially. But then yesterday I took a gamble because nothing else seemed worth watching. Needless, to say, it was a good gamble. Great one really. I love it when it works out that way. Makes me feel lucky.
More Fantastic Mr. Fox (movie) reviews
review by . January 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
He Truly Is a Fantastic Fox!
      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 …
review by . March 15, 2011
I like Wes Anderson, even though I am a novice in his works, and Fantastic Mr Fox marks his first animated film to date, and may I say, its a damn good one. Lets just say, if the purpose for animated films was to entertain adults as well as children, then there would be a hell of a lot more movies like this one. In fact, Fantastic Mr. Fox is made more so for adults then for kids. The film doesn't stoop to low levels to make kids laugh, it make sophisticated teenagers and adults laugh with the …
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 . 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.
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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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