This month saw the release of, the latest film by Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I saw last week. As such, it seemed fitting that I make my blindspot selection this month the only film of Anderson’s that I had yet to see. Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on the book by Roald Dahl and focuses on the titular Mr. Fox (George Clooney), a long-retired chicken thief, who decides to secretly resume his thievery by robbing the farms of Boggis, Bunce & Bean. However, the farmers, particularly Franklin Bean (Michael Gambon), don’t take kindly to being robbed and begin a vicious feud against Mr. Fox and the other animals, including Kylie the Possum (Wally Wolodarsky) and Badger (Bill Murray). With the help of his wife Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) and son Ash (Jason Schwartzman), Mr. Fox tries to come up with a plan to save the animal community from the farmers.
I’m not really sure why I missed Fantastic Mr. Fox upon its original release back in 2009. Perhaps the film just got lost in the shuffle and I never got around to it. The film is a unique addition to Wes Anderson’s filmography, since it’s a stop motion animated film, with an overall look that I’d say was comparable to old The Wind in the Willows television series. However, despite the film’s characters being stop motion animals, the film still very much felt like Wes Anderson’s other films. While the film is based on a children’s book, which by default makes this a children’s movie, Anderson made Fantastic Mr. Fox be just as much for adults than kids.
To date, this film is the only voice-over role for George Clooney, who brings his natural charisma to the title character of Mr. Fox. As is usually the case for Wes Anderson films, the voice cast includes many of his regulars, including Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Willem Dafoe. Also interesting is how Wes Anderson himself does the voice of the character Weasel, while his brother Eric Chase Anderson voices the major role of Mr. Fox’s overachieving nephew Kristofferson. In fact, this is probably the biggest role for both Eric Chase Anderson and Wally Wolodarsky (Kylie), both of whom have appeared in bit parts in Wes Anderson’s other films.
Even though it took me nearly five years to finally watch it, I can say that Fantastic Mr. Fox was worth the wait. I thought that it was a cute film that fits right at home in the overall canon of Wes Anderson.8 | LIKED IT