Home > Review > Wes Anderson Returns to Form with Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson Returns to Form with Fantastic Mr. Fox

This is one of my favorite films of the year. I just immediately feel in love with the film as I sat in the theatre watching it. I’ve been a fan of Anderson since I first saw Rushmore, and this film is a return to form for him. This is defiantly Anderson’s best film since 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums. I enjoyed The Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited, but even I admit that both those films were flawed.

This is a stop-motion animated film based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel. The story focuses on a family of foxes. The patriarch of the family is Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, his wife, is voiced by Meryl Streep, and their young insecure son, Ash, is voiced by Jason Schwartzman. Clooney’s Fox is trying to go it straight and keep away from the life of being an adventurous, daring wild animal. But one day he lets loose and starts stealing food from near by farmers. This soon starts a war between the farmers and all the animals living in the community.

The voice acting in the film is perfect. George Clooney is great as the dashing, adventurous Mr. Fox. Another perfect casting pick is Jason Schwartzman as Ash. Schwartzman is great at playing arrogant characters. Look at his performance as Max in Rushmore to see a perfect example of this.

There is also some great voice talent from other members of the Wes Anderson stock company. Of course the great Billy Murray makes an appearance as a lawyer Badger. Other members of the stock company we hear are Owen Wilson, Michael Gambon, and Willem Dafoe. Other great additions to the company include Wes Anderson’s brother, Eric Chase Anderson, as the nephew Fox and Wallace Wolodarsky voicing Mr. Fox’s sidekick.

I love how the stop-motion animation looks in this film. It’s beautiful to look at. This being a stop-motion animated film does not limit Wes Anderson’s directorial style. We get Anderson’s trademark of very particular framing of scenes. We get a side moving view of a set, that makes it look like we’re looking in a dollhouse. Like in each of Anderson’s films, each character has their own particular uniform which represents a side of their own personality. His love of classic rock comes through as well. We get to hear a Rolling Stones tune in the film. When was the last time you heard a Rolling Stones song in a children’s animated film?

This film falls perfectly into Anderson’s oeuvre because of the film’s focus on this strange, unique family. Anderson loves to focus on the eccentrics in life. Particularly when it comes to family units. Here we see this to full effect. In some ways Mr. Fox is in the same vein as Royal Tenenbaum.

This is a very charming, funny film that I think will appeal to both children and adults. Go out and seek this film! Wes Anderson fans will not be disappointed.

4 Stars

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