Fantastic Mr Fox (PG)
Dir. Wes Anderson
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
ONE WORD SUMMATION: fantastic-cussing-foxbusiness
You may well know the tale of evil farmers ‘Boggis and Bunce and Bean’ - one fat, one short, one lean. Each was a horrible crook, so different in looks but none the less equally mean… But hero of this Roald Dahl adaptation is the quote / unquote “Fantastic” Mr Fox (here voiced to perfection by the gorgeous George Clooney).
This family cinematic treat is an awesome mixture that fuses Dahl's fun foxy tale of wildlife vs farmers with Anderson’s distinctly oddball humour. It works better than I thought it possible, forsaking the current de rigueur CGI trickery for traditional 'stop motion' animation. There is a very distinct look and feel on offer here that you just won’t find anywhere else.
Quality actors are on hand such as Meryl Streep who is great as Mrs Fox, Bill Murray as grumpy Badger and Michael Gambon as mean Farmer Bean. The voice talent all throw themselves into this slightly darker take on the source material which includes new character ‘Kristofferson’ who puts Mr Fox's teenage son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) into a depressive state. The farmer villains are backed up by the token scary character – a flick knife wielding Rat (a suitably nasty Willem Dafoe).
"this poster is for those who've not heard of it - i.e. whose parents didn't love them?"
I saw this with my family and my sons were in stitches at the clever use of the word ‘cuss’ which allows for dialogue between characters that otherwise would be more suited to a Tarantino film such as this ace scene:
Badger: In summation, I think you just got to not do it, man. That's all.
Mr. Fox: I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.
Badger: The cuss you are.
Mr. Fox: The cuss am I? Are you cussing with me?
Badger: No, you cussing with me?
Mr. Fox: Don't cussing point at me!
Badger If you're gonna cuss, you're not gonna cuss with me, you little cuss!
Genius stuff! This is a quality film that should stand the test of time; it just goes to show that flashy special effects aren’t everything – which in an age where Transformers is the highest grossing film of the year is good news.
If looking for something that will genuinely amuse both adults and kids alike I’d advise a spot of Fantastic Mr Fox hunting.
Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 – charming and fun, quality Dahl-ism)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Action 7 (chicken stealing is fun!)
Style 8 (highly visual and unique)
Babes 4 (too hairy for most)
Comedy 7 (pleasingly funny)
Horror 5 (rat is the bag guy)
Spiritual Enlightenment 6 (do what’s right!)