Monday, November 30, 2009

Nog Dons His Bandit Hat and Rides With Mr. Fox!

I thoroughly enjoyed Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which doesn't feel like a director trying his hand at animation but rather like a Wes Anderson film that just happens to feature a bunch of stop-motion creatures (many voiced by Anderson's usual repertory company--Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray--joined by a hilarious George Clooney as Mr. Fox). Anderson's flicks are too arch, too "hip" for some tastes. All quirk and no emotion is often the standard criticism, which, as a fan, I've never thought was exactly accurate. However you term it, though, the sensibility works well here, and Anderson's habit of filling every inch of the frame with incredible detail provides a beautiful stop-motion world. It's all probably too slow and talky for the young crowd, but Anderson proved in Life Aquatic that he can stage a fine action set-piece too, and those scenes are great fun as the dashing Fox and pals attempt to outwit the wicked farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.

Watch especially for Willem Dafoe as Rat! (along with Antichrist, this is Defoe's second film this year to feature talking foxes: perhaps he's decided to ONLY make films about talking foxes?).

Judging from the film's weak box-office take, audiences are waiting for family fare that's a little less...cerebral. Sadly, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel will probably outgross this by a long shot. But this is the one that will be remembered in the future and perhaps find its deserved audience.


  1. DUDE! THANK YOU! I agree with every word! And I'm a little surprised at that. But it's a marvelous fim! The only thing I regret is that I had to sit through a trailer for ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL. < shudders > I will never have children, but let's say I did: I would never, under any circumstances, take them to ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL. Stop-motion Wes Anderson films based on Roald Dahl texts. . .by all means! The usual family-friendly affairs -- heck no!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Matthew. It's too bad that a film so smart and enjoyable is going to tank at the box-office. I actually thought this one would be a hit. Shows what I know! People want the Squeakquel.

    (also, I'm fairly certain that I could promote The Road in such a way that people would see it...the damn thing was an Oprah Book Club hit, after all!).

    (also, I'm fairly certain that I could promote Bad Lieutenant in such a way that people would see it: I mean, people line up to see shitty Cage movies all the time! why not just release this damn thing in multiplexes and advertise it as an action film and let unsuspecting audiences freak the fuck out instead of ackowledging its arthouse status and dooming it to extinction!)