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Fantastic Mr. Fox This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Brilliant animation, witty dialogue, intriguing storyline, out of the box thinking, and a bounty of memorable one-liners are characteristics of almost every instant classic movie. Many producers try their best to incorporate these invaluable attributes, but very few are successful. However Wes Anderson hit a homerun with the “fantastic” movie: Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Based on the famous Roald Dahl children’s story; It’s the story of a smooth-talking, witty, and pedantic fox’s battle with three of the nastiest farmers around. Mr. Fox lived a dangerous life as a successful bird thief; until he and his new wife get caught in a fox trap, where he learns she is pregnant, and promises her that if they live, he will change his line of work. They do live, and for a while he leads a safe life as a newspaper columnist. But eventually his “wild animal instinct” drives him to begin an underground network of thievery from the area’s most prominent farmers: Bogus, Bunce, and Bean. This ongoing battle fills up most of the 87 minutes of screen time, and provides most of the memorable action and dialogue. And if there is anything this movie has, it is memorable action and dialogue.
Nearly every scene is packed to capacity with brilliant episodes of surprisingly simple animated animal action. The fact that such a simple stop-action storyline can become such a classic movie is solely a result of the genius dialogue; nearly every word uttered is memorable one-liner.

Making these expressions possible is some very impressive voicing. George Clooney’s ability to humanize Mr. Fox, and give him a personality that defines the movie, is truly “fantastic.” He draws from his previous experience portraying characters with similar pedantic, narcissistic, and confident personalities (Think Ulysses Everett McGill from “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou”) to transform Mr. Fox into a perfect representation of the quote-on-quote “fantastic” fox you’d expect after reading the book; and after watching the movie, I can’t imagine Mr. Fox sounding any different than he does.

While the movie may be based on a children’s story, set in cartoon animation, and highlighted by animals and bright colors, it is not a children’s movie. Its humor is sophisticated and deals with very ‘adult’ issues. The dialogue is made up of a vast amount of large words and complex ideas; Mr. Fox is almost always presenting some off-beat idea or thought provoking rhetorical question, for example:

Mr. Fox: “Who am I Kylie? Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I'm saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you'll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth?
Kylie: “I have no idea what you’re talking about…”

Unless your kids are at a much-higher-than-average level of intellect and comprehension—they will probably leave feeling a lot like Kylie: Hopelessly lost.

While the dialogue is the highlight of the movie, there is so much more to its brilliance. The entire movie is designed using unconventional methods, much like Roald Dahl’s book. The scenery, music, and animation all leave an un-kosher taste in your mouth; but it’s a sweet taste—one that makes you think a little a little less kosher in life is just fine.

The use of unconventionality is effective in highlighting some of the movie’s main points. The scenes are something you’d expect to see in a 3 year old’s picture book, the music is very unrefined, and the animation is completely impossible to define. Yet all these factors work so well in drawing out the underlying point of the movie: the contrast between two very different aspects of human nature: sophistication and our natural animal instinct; as well as the relationship between the two.

Overall, this movie goes in as an all-time classic. It only takes 87 minutes to watch, but you’ll be quoting it for years. It’s one of the very few movies that I can say with complete honesty is better than the book…It is one cuss of a good book .



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