Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jason Watches THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX

It's total throwback charm to see such a crudely stop-motion animated movie in these times of CGI galore. Wes Anderson has taken an interesting turn with this story of a fox (voiced by George Clooney) who through his cunning and guile steals from three of the meanest farmers who ever lived. And there's a pretty simple message there about being true to your animal nature--even if you've agreed to give up stealing to raise a family. Even if your antics result in the whole forest being threatened. Even if you're little and not very athletic. We're all different, and there's something really fantastic about that.

Wes Anderson has had an annoying habit of cobbling together a bunch of interesting scenes that don't make up a whole movie (worst offender, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU). He suffers a little bit from that here, although I think using Roald Dahl's source material keeps him in check (confession, I haven't read the book so I don't know how faithfully he sticks to it). FANTASTIC MR FOX is probably close to the level of narrative focus in RUSHMORE or THE DARJEELING LIMITED, i.e., as focused as Wes Anderson ever gets.
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