Fantastic Mr. Fox

15 Feb

Fantastic Mr. Fox

A confession: I love Wes Anderson. Yes, all of his films utilize the same, obscenely quaint aesthetics. Yes, these aesthetics take the films beyond “easy to like” to desperately begging you to like them. Yes, I’ve only actually seen two. That doesn’t matter; as soon as I saw The Royal Tenenbaums, like any other white person, I fell madly in love. So much so, in fact, that I was ready and willing to walk, alone, into a university cinema filled with children in the middle of a Saturday afternoon to see his latest, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Maybe I love Wes Anderson too much.

In any case, Fantastic Mr. Fox, as you may know, is an animated movie based off of Roald Dahl’s book of the same name. It tells the story of Mr. Fox, a former thief of chickens, geese, squabs, and the like who, since becoming a father, has gone straight. Still, after several years, he feels the urge to pull one last big “job,” if you will, by stealing from Borgiss, Bunce, and Bean, who happen to be three of the wealthiest farmers around. Unfortunately for Mr. Fox, this heist starts a battle which threatens him, his family, and the entire community of animals.

Not that the story matters much; this movie is all about the style. That is, Wes Anderson’s style. Being a Wes Anderson lover, I figured I would enjoy this movie. I couldn’t be more right; though, as I mentioned, I haven’t seen many of his movies, I’m willing to bet that this one is the Wes Andersonian-est of them all. From beginning to end, those quaint aesthetics are all over the place. The film bears all of the trademarks of an Anderson film one could imagine: the title scrolls, the folky music cues, the old suits, the passive aggression, the cutesy cleverness, the close-ups, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman. Hell, even the choppy, homemade-looking stop motion seems to flash Anderson’s name in bright lights.

I can see how this could annoy some people. Some may think that Anderson’s style is starting to get old. However, for those like me who don’t think that at all, this film will be a pure delight (and, as an added bonus, it’s kid-friendly! Great news for those raising hipster children). “But John,” I can hear the dozens of nerds asking, “style and charm aside, does this movie stay true to the book?” Another confession: I have no idea. I’ve never read the book. Yes, I really do suck. But, from what I’ve heard from several critics, the movie does stay true to its source, and Roald Dahl’s spirit overall. That’s good enough for me.

If you’ve ever found yourself geeking out over Wes Anderson even half as much as I just did, then this movie is for you. You’re bound to enjoy it immensely. If you’ve never seen a Wes Anderson film and have no idea what I’m talking about, then this movie is also for you. It’s basically a crazy good time for everyone.

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Next time, I freak out about the amount of albums I haven’t been listening to and review Robbers and Cowards.

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