Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/10/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 87 mins

Hugely enjoyable, frequently funny comedy with delightfully quirky animation and a superb voice cast, but the biggest surprise is just how perfectly it sits alongside Anderson's previous films.

What's it all about?
Based on the children's book by Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox is directed by Wes Anderson and stars George Clooney as Mr. Fox, who promised his wife Felicity (Meryl Streep) that he would give up a life of henhouse thievery when their son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) was born and now writes a newspaper column that nobody reads. However, after 12 fox years (two real years) of going straight, Mr. Fox longs for the thrill of the perfect crime, so he plots a triple hit on the farms of Boggis, Bunce and Bean (Robin Hurlstone, Hugo Guinness and Michael Gambon).

The Good
The quirky stop motion animation, with its cotton wool smoke and crinkly paper water, is thoroughly delightful and also pleasingly reminiscent of 1970s Oliver Postgate-style children's TV shows. Anderson has toyed with animated sequences in his films before (most notably in The Life Aquatic), so it's no surprise to find him so comfortable with the form here.

The script (adapted by Anderson and frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach) crackles with great dialogue and quotable lines. It's also packed with wonderful gags, such as the way the well-mannered creatures still messily devour their food like wild animals.

The Great
Perhaps the biggest surprise of Fantastic Mr. Fox is that, despite the animation and the source material, it still remains very much a Wes Anderson film and can comfortably sit alongside the likes of The Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited, both thematically and structurally. This is helped by a terrific cast that includes Anderson regulars such as Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson (as Coach Skip) and Bill Murray (brilliant as Badger, Fox's lawyer) alongside a perfectly cast Clooney, Streep and Michael Gambon, who's deliciously nasty as Bean.

That said, whilst it obviously helps maintain his signature style, Anderson's use of bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys on the soundtrack is occasionally jarring. Similarly, the script throws in some annoying Americanisms like five and dime, despite the fact that it's meant to be set in England.

Worth seeing?
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a hugely enjoyable comedy adventure that will appeal to both adults and kids and is a treat for both Anderson fans and animation aficionados alike. Highly recommended.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 06:48

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