Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009) Review

Roald Dahl's books have gone to to make a lot of film adapataions. I know you know the more popular ones such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or the 'not as good' remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but there have been other adaptations of his work. They aren't as good as the previous films but they're not bad. These include Matilda, Danny Champion of the World, The Witches and James and the Giant Peach but today I am going to look at the most recent adaptation of his: Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) lives with his wife, Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) and their son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) but, getting bored of his lifestyle, as a mid life crisis. He buys a brand new house, welcomes his nephew Kristofferson Silverfox (Eric Chase Anderson) into his family and starts to steal food from the three biggest farmers in the area, Boggis (Robin Hurlstone), Bunce (Hugo Guinness) and Bean (Michael Gambon). The three farmers become aware of this and stop at nothing in order to take down Fox and stop him for good.

I should really say that this is loosely based on the story. Only loosely. Sure it has the same characters but they have been changed and given more personality. The biggest example is the Rat (Willem Dafoe). Originally a small character in the book that only appeared it a brief appearence, Now, he acts as Bean's henchman and makes more appearances. Other characters include Badger (Bill Murray) who, while similar to how he was in the book, is more of a rival for Fox but still his friend and plays a much larger role. The three farmers are improved, most notably Bean. They are more antagonistic and are likeable characters, which is unheard of in a Roald Dahl story, he always makes the villains horrible but they are great in this film.

I wish more films went down the route that this one did: Stop frame animation. It still works today as shown with films like Coraline and Wallace and Gromit so I wonder why there aren't that many (other the the obvious fact that it takes ages). It's refreshing to see a stop frame film. The best thing about it is the art style, it looks like taxidermy puppets giving a realistic look that really pays off and looks fantastic.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a pretty good adaptation of a great story. The cast, while somewhat questionable (who looked at Mr. Fox and thought George Clooney...despite the fact that he did a very good job). Sure, it's not perfect and there are a view moments that I was questioning but they are covered by a good narrative and some thrilling scenes (such as the fight between Fox and Rat). It makes the story more entertaining but some may prefer the book and that's understandable.

A nice looking film that, while being weird at times, holds up well.

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