movie thoughts: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Delightfully odd.

That’s all I could think while watching ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ this morning, Wes Anderson’s adaptation of one of Roahld Dahl’s shorter books.  It’s the story of Mr Fox (voice by George Clooney) who thought he could settle into a home life with the Mrs. (Meryl Streep) but after 2 years (12 fox years) he can’t stand living in a hole in the ground any more.  He moves the family into a burrow under a tree, only a short distance away from three of the largest farms in town.  And from there’s it’s a slippery slope back into stealing livestock and hard cider.

Even thought you might look at the animated, stop-motion style and think “children’s movie”, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone under the age of 13 that gets the very dry humor of Mr Fox.  In fact, I think this movie would work best for teens and up.  Let’s put it this way, the dysfunctional family dynamics had me thinking more of Craven’s Royal Tenenbaums than Toy Story (that might be because half the voice cast in FMF was IN Tenenbaums…).  The humor comes from dead-panned one liners and strange philosophical moments. 

So don’t dismiss this movie as something for kids!  Not only is the casting perfect, but the stop-motion work is beautifully done.  The story is quirky, the humor intelligent, and the movie comes in at a perfect 90 minutes, exactly where it should be.  Some might call this movie *does wavy hand motion* “different” but I think many would just call it fantastic.

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