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Vermaak | Entertainment > Film > Resensies | Reviews

Fantastic Mr Fox strange yet brilliant

Reney Warrington - 2010-02-10

Director: Wes Anderson
Voices: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray
Date of release: 12 February 2010
Length: 87 minutes
Reney’s rating: 90%

George Clooney’s charm is undeniable. I even went against my organic, fair trade and recycling principles to buy a darn Nespresso machine because he is the “Nespresso guy”. In Fantastic Mr Fox, there is just no resisting him as Mr Fox, a chicken thief gone “straight” in this stop-motion animation film.

In a nutshell

Fox gets the wife pregnant. He promises to give up his thieving ways and find a safe job. Twelve Fox years later he can’t resist and steals from the most dangerous farmers in the area. He is caught in the act – and hell hath no fury like a farmer stolen from, especially these three brutes.

The OCD of Wes Anderson

At first Fantastic Mr Fox made no sense to me. I found it brilliant, but a little strange. As a rule, I adore strange and brilliant films.

Things became a lot clearer when I read that the director, Wes Anderson, was responsible for other strange films, such as the brilliant but peculiar The Royal Tennenbaums, as well as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Fox is a typical Anderson film and Wes is obviously a strange but brilliant man. He actually directed Fox from France via e-mail and phone calls to the animators in America.

Adding to the strangeness

It is almost as if the film was not made for an audience, as if it was not supposed to be seen and that we, the viewers, accidentally stumbled upon this collection of oddball characters going about their daily lives. There is no clear message (apart from some father-son drama) or heroes. Everyone is flawed in some way. There are ominous undertones throughout the film – and none of them matters. I loved it!

Something old, something new

What distinguishes this film as something new, something fresh, is the low tech, “old” technology of stop-motion animation. In the new Avatar world of perfect, very slick, very cool animation, this “throwback” (along with films such as Waltz with Bashir and Persepolis) is a fresh breeze.

Best one-liner

Fox, who longs for his chicken-thieving days, contemplates his purpose in life, asking, “And how can a fox ever be happy without – you’ll forgive the expression – a chicken in its teeth?”

Something interesting

In the film, the word “cuss”, which means “to swear”, is used instead of actual swear words.

I agree with the label top critic Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal bestowed on this film: “a lovely oddity”.

PS: Nespresso makes a mean espresso.