Sunday, 22 November 2009
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
This really shouldn’t work. Director Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Life Aquatic) is known for a lot of things, but stop-motion animation and kids films aren’t two of them. And yet, his adaptation of the much-loved Roald Dahl tale is funny, exciting, and a flat-out joy from start to finish. While filling the film with his typical quirky and deadpan touches, Anderson sticks close to Dahl’s story of Mr. Fox (the voice of George Clooney) and the time he took on a trio of nasty local farmers in a battle that soon takes on epic proportions. So fans of the book have little to fear here; likewise, fans of Anderson’ earlier films will soon discover that – despite being both a children’s story, and done entirely in stop-motion animation – this is as much part of his own unique world as any of his other films (and not just because Bill Murray does the voice of Mr. Fox’s badger lawyer – Mr. Fox’s wife paints landscape with thunderstorms, which is about as Anderson-esque a touch as you can get). But while Anderson’s last few films have increasingly left the comedy side of things behind, this packs in a steady stream of jokes, one-liners, and just plain funny pieces of animation. If you’re already a fan of Anderson’s work just seeing various wild animals using his style of deadpan, self-depreciating comedy in a claymation replica of his quasi-1960s world is hilarious; even if you’re not, this extremely funny film for all ages is something special.