Thursday, 17 December 2009


Based on Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s book, Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson’s first foray into animation and boasts an impressive cast. The titular Mr. Fox is a suave, discerning individual who is determined to provide his family with the best life possible. Having bought up a home in a tree near three sizable farms, Fox decides to take advantage by stealing foodstuffs from each farm. Before long, the disgruntled farmers conspire to kill the crafty intruder, tracking his home to the tree and attacking it with diggers. Fox begins to lose sight of his survival instincts, instead set on restoring his pride, but when his wife’s vulnerable nephew Kristofferson is put in danger, he determines to choreograph an ingenious plan to put everything right.

Anderson has taken a fair few liberties with the source material, creating a sardonic family drama in the guise of a children’s animated film. Essentially, we’re in Tenenbaums territory, so Dahl purists beware. In fact, it is hard to gauge what Dahl would have made of this version, given his distaste for Mel Stuart’s equally witty interpretation of Willy Wonka. Stop-motion animation was an inspired decision, given how textural the original story was. Attention is paid to the movement of every hair, every blade of grass, and yet Anderson still avoids compromising his visual trademarks. Occasionally, with all the salacious sarcasm and cute anthropomorphism, the film gets a touch too smooth for its own good, but it’s a minor flaw in an otherwise irresistible masterwork.

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