6 December 2009 | Matt_Layden
Holy Cuss, This Film Is Great
Giving up his life of a chicken thief because of a child on the way, Mr. Fox gets a job as a newspaper writer and lives underground. Years pass, his child is older and he wants to move to a tree and not feel poor anymore. Along the way he takes in his nephew and decides to steal again, from the three biggest farmers no less. The farmers get wise and start a battle against Mr. Fox, his family and all their creature friends.
At first I didn't know if I wanted to see this, the animation looked really bad. But after thinking about it for a bit, I found that it fit into Anderson's style, it was something that he would do. So I gave the film a shot and I'm glad I did. This film has Anderson's signature style all over it, right down to the obvious voice casting, which has the likes of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson, and Willem Dafoe.
A lot of people, and I'm including myself in this bunch, might think nothing of this film. After all, it doesn't have the bright, adventurous feel of the recent Disney/Pixar films that have been dominating the animation scene. I'd even throw Dreamworks into that bunch. Those films are done by people who are at ease in their field, animated director like Brad Bird and John Lasseter know their way around the animation style. Yet here comes auteur Wes Anderson, who has a unique style and sense of comedy. His transition to animation, stop motion animation no less, is smart, funny and a pleasure. Is it his best film? Of course not, but it's one of the more enjoyable ones.
The voice cast all work well, Clooney does a good job as the lead. He has that leadership tone in his voice, that arrogance that is needed for the character. Streep isn't given much to do, so her role as the wife is pretty basic, as is the character. Their son Ash, voice by Bored To Death star Jason Schwartzman was a stand out for me, as was Eric Chase Anderson, as Kristofferson. That name might not sound familiar, that's because his resume only consists of Anderson films. Bill Murray plays a badger and Fox's lawyer, who advises him not to buy the tree house. Fox does anyway and that's why he's in this mess. The animals are really small and live in this world where there are apparently small motorbikes for them to use. They can communicate with the human characters, no one seems to find it odd in this little world they live in. You won't find it odd either, you'll just be enjoying the fun.
Each chapter is subtitled, Fox's Master Plan A, Fox's Master Plan B, etc. They even tell you how time passes in human years and fox years and in a comical bit one human hour compare to one fox hour. You never know how long these hours are in comparison to each other, you don't want to know either, it just adds to the uniqueness of the film. At heart, these characters are still wild animals, as Fox even says this in the film, and the way they eat and "fight" each other proves this.
The film has that Anderson humour and might go over some kids heads. It's dark in some places, as one character dies, but I think they will enjoy it. They won't jump up and down for it like Up, or Finding Nemo. They won't want to go out and buy the latest Mr. Fox stuffed animal or toy. This feels more like a film for adults, it doesn't really cater to the kids, but they will have their bits to laugh at, like the possum who stares blankly at some people for whatever reason.
This film was made from scratch, this world Anderson creates is fun and I had a fun time being in it. The film flies by it's running time and I never found the film dragging. It was in and out. As stated before, the kids might enjoy this, but it's more for adults. There's smoking and there's even a unique way of swearing, which I found funny. The camera movements scream Wes Anderson and if you're a fan, then you will enjoy this very much.
One of my favourite films of the year.