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Wes Anderson Renders A Fantastic 'Mr. Fox'
'Fantastic Mr. Fox' Learns Value Of Family, Community
Howard Schumann (howard16)     Print Article 
Published 2009-12-04 11:07 (KST)   
Howard Schumann rates "Fantastic Mr. Fox" an A-.  <Editor's Note>
Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson셲 retro stop-motion animated version of the classic Roald Dahl novel, tells the story of the charming rogue, Mr. Fox who, through a series of adventures and misadventures, learns the value of community and family.

It is a hard lesson to learn, however, and eliminating larceny from his life may be too big a stretch for Mr. Fox who, after all, tells his wife that he poaches poultry "because I'm a wild animal. George Clooney is the silky smooth voice coming from Mr. Fox셲 mouth while Meryl Streep voices the role of Mrs. Fox. Both Clooney and Streep seem completely at home in their roles, giving the movie even more bounce and joie de vivre.

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'Fantastic Mr. Fox' Learns Value Of Family, Community
Anderson, working with co-screenwriter Noah Baumbach, connects with Dahl셲 sensibility but expands on the story, bringing in diversions such as the game of 쐗hack-bat and a Tennenbaum-like helping of family dysfunction. The main idea of the book remains, however, that once we are sure of who we are, we have the strength to take on even the most determined adversaries, for example, 쐔hree of the meanest, nastiest, ugliest farmers in the world. When a young Mr. Fox learns that his wife is pregnant, he makes a promise to stop his life of chicken thievery and turn into an honest man - 셞r fox. Fast forward two years and the reformed Mr. Fox is now a newspaper columnist and has even changed his clothes from dapper to casual.

He also has a son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman) whom he considers to be slightly weird because he wears a superhero cape. Looking into the possibility of buying a new home inside a beech tree that has lots of shade, he is told by his lawyer, Badger (Bill Murray) to stay far away because that tree is too close to the property of three mean farmers: Boggis (Robin Hurlstone), Bunce (Hugo Guinness) and, the nastiest of them all, Bean (Michael Gambon). Ignoring the advice of his lawyer, Mr. Fox not only moves into his new digs but plans one last bit of thievery to show the gleesome threesome who is boss.

He brings back his old partner Kylie the opossum (Wally Wolodarsky) to aid in the crime but things become complicated when his athletic cousin Kristofferson (Eric Anderson) comes to stay with the family and catches Fox셲 attention. Needless to say, the mature Kristofferson who also does yoga and meditation makes Ash jealous who, like most teenagers, is somewhat insecure and eager to please his dad. Fox brings the whole family together, however, to try and defeat the mean farmers in a three-part plan to steal chickens, turkeys, and spiked apple cider, taking them underground, through tunnels, and up into the streets.

A bit too quirky and snappy for younger children, 쏤antastic Mr. Fox is more likely to appeal to teenagers with its eclectic soundtrack that includes Burl Ives, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and the Bobby Fuller Four.

Anderson seems to have had a lot of fun in making the film and it shows. With the 70s style costumes and animation technique, the feeling is of watching real characters in motion rather than being drowned in a sea of graphics.

Ultimately, the story is what is most important anyway, and here a subversive Dahl novel is enhanced by the even more subversive Anderson, advising us that whether we are four-legged or two-legged, we should rejoice in the knowledge of how unique we truly are.
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Howard Schumann

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