Fantastic Mr. Fox

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and friends. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and friends. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

With so many animated films coming out nowadays, all with similar graphics and storylines, it can sometimes not seem worth going to see the latest children’s movie. In Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox though we have the stars, a strong script, witty lines and characters that both adults and children can relate to.

Based on the classic children’s book by author Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox is the story of Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney), a former master thief who has retired at the request of Mrs. Fox (voiced by Meryl Streep) and become a news columnist. The film starts with warm colors with Mr. Fox on the top of a hill, and Mrs. Fox soon coming home from a doctor. After two years Mr. Fox has a son and gets a new house (a tree) which is nearby three farms. However, just when Mr. Fox was cleaning up his act, he goes back to his old criminal ways and an all-out war starts between Fox, his family, friends and the farmers. Mr. Fox soon gets his friends to carry out raids on the three nearby farms owned by the mean farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, who are going to extreme measures to kill Fox and his family.

Although the film moves at a steady pace, and has some funny scenes (especially the one where the farmers sing), the writers unfortunately seem to disconnect with the characters near the end of the film. The actors who are voicing the main characters, such as Mr. Fox’s real estate broker (voiced by Bill Murray), Mr. Fox’s son Ash (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) and Kristofferson (voiced by Eric Anderson), Ash’s cousin, seem to give them each a strong personality up until the end of the film when we really could have used a mesmerizing scene. Instead we are given a quick end with the foxes in the Boggis, Bunce and Bean International Supermarket getting food and having a toast for carrying out the raids on the farmer’s poultry and produce.

With George Clooney voicing Mr. Fox we have the tone set of a slick and suave animal. The film is similar to Nick Park’s Wallace and Gromit films as it has the same cinematographer, Tristan Oliver. However, you feel that the animals are more realistic. Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox portrays a caring mother and wife who is trying to keep her family safe, which is especially true when animals are flooded out of an underground burrow.

As I am not a big fan of Wes Anderson’s other films, like Rushmore, I didn’t expect a strong storyline for this film. However, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, and feel that this is an interesting family film, with some humorous scenes, and a good choice for the Thanksgiving weekend.

For families looking for a real witty sense of humor and lessons, and not just graphics, Wes Anderson’s foxy tale has a strong plot for both adults and children.

Fantastic Mr. Fox • Dolby® Digital surround sound in select theatres • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 • Running Time: 87 minutes • MPAA Rating: PG for action, smoking and slang humor. • Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures

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