Fantastic Mr. Fox directed by Wes Anderson - Film
WES ANDERSON LETS HIS HAIR DOWN
by Kevin Bowen
published November 29,
now playing nationwide
Smart. Witty. Cool. Hip. Imaginative. Different. And, like any good fox, sly.
Those are the words that apply to Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson’s impressively retro journey into stop-gap animation. The film is a
breakthrough for those thirsting for something other than CGI animation. It is also a breakthrough for Anderson, who has been looking for a
Fantastic Mr. Fox
is first an exercise in style. The film is layered in fall colors –oranges and yellows and
browns. More importantly, it is a piece of animation that is directed rather than produced.
Where Pixar’s animation bears the brand and the qualities of the studio
that makes it, Fantastic Mr. Fox is clearly the act of a single mind on a visual level. All the
hallmarks of Anderson’s visual style are there – extreme use of the screen’s width, and most impressively, a world that extends beyond the
screen. The camera goes up, down, all around. Has the visual style of an animated ever seemed so liberated?
Yet its story (based on the Roald Dahl book) of a patriarch in midlife crisis
is sufficiently foxy. Mr. Fox has traded stealing chickens for a day job as a columnist, a wife and a freaky outcast son. Yet something’s
missing, because a fox is made to steal chickens. He resorts to thievery of a major corporation. That brings all sorts of hell when the
owners decide to get bloody revenge.
suffered for what built him up. Like what once happened one of his many heroes, Francois Truffaut, observers have unfairly thrown him into the
category of “filmmaker who exhibited early brilliance but has not been able to live up to it.” Having recently re-watched The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, I feel confident in saying that that reputation won’t last, as it did
not with Truffaut. However, it is nice to see Anderson laugh again and break out of his ultra-deadpan Hal Ashby phase.
kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com