Based on the beloved story by author Roald Dahl, the Academy Award-nominated film “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” will be released on DVD and Blu Ray March 23. Director Wes Anderson paints a beautiful portrait of a countryside filled with bright yellow and orange hues.
The audience is greeted by the anthropomorphic fauna that inhabit this world, living day to day life like us. This is the world of “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.”
Anderson’s keen eye for detail and character development shine as an example of what he is capable of from his previous films such as “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic.”
Anderson’s tradition of giving his characters quirky traits and lovable personalities is present throughout the film.
From the character Badger (voiced by Bill Murray), Mr. Fox’s lawyer and self-proclaimed demolitions expert, to the knife-wielding, Southern-accented character Rat (voiced by Willem Dafoe), Anderson puts his unique stamp on each.
Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) is a charismatic father and witty trickster who tries to redefine himself during a midlife crisis.
He decides to go on one last caper to prove that he still has the knack for thievery.
It is clearly evident that not only did Clooney take his character to heart, but he expresses his own personality within the character with style and has genuine fun with the role.
With the help of the absentminded opossum character Kylie (voiced by Wallace Wolodarsky), Mr. Fox plans and infiltrates three farms in an “Ocean’s 11” like scenario, complete with battle plans and tactics.
This brings him to the farming estates of Boggis, Bunce and Bean, “one fat, one short, one lean,” as teased in song by the children of the town.
The characters of Boggis, Bunce and Bean (voiced by Robin Hurlstone, Hugo Guinness and Michael Gambon respectively) are funny. Yet serious threats as they try every trick in the book to flush -out and capture Mr. Fox.
Bean, the self-appointed leader of the three, organizes a heavy assault on the Fox’s home with excavators and dynamite.
Gambon gives his character Bean a ruthless, yet calm demeanor with an air of intimidation that challenges Mr. Fox.
Mrs. Fox (voiced by Meryl Streep) brings forth a sensible side to the character as she plays both wife and mother in the film.
Her strong personality, down-to-earth attitude, and caring nature toward her husband and son delivers an enjoyable performance.
A rivalry between Mr. Fox’s son Ash (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) and his far more talented cousin Kristofferson (voiced by Eric Chase Anderson) plays out as the typical story of the son seeking his father’s approval. This, however, does not hurt the film’s pacing too much.
Throughout the film, statistics of the Fox’s perception of time and scientific animal classifications are dotted in the film. This created a delightful use of dry humor and insight into Anderson’s constructed world.
In terms of the stop motion animation used, Anderson’s team does an outstanding job as they bring forth detailed landscapes of farmed fields, dug out burrows, beaver dams and the streets of a neighboring town.
The fur on Mr. Fox and his neighboring fauna couldn’t look more real.
The choice of music for the film is a unique mixture, from “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” to the Beach Boys’ “I Get Around,” the music ties scenes together nicely.
Even the song “Love” from the animated Disney film “Robin Hood” was chosen to play during a scene with the Fox family as they enjoy a day outdoors.
With a rich voice cast, charming storytelling, and traditional stop motion animation that would rival most modern day CGI animated films, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a must see for those looking for a good film with good taste.
Patrick Viesti is a fourth year student at West Chester University, majoring in communications studies. He can be reached at PV682167@wcupa.edu.