The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is a stop-motion animated film based on the book by the same name, written by Ronald Dahl, is a widely known children’s book that detailed the various escapades of a particularly intelligent “Mr. Fox” and his family. Even though the movie was not given very much publicity, and made no real records, it certainly had some big names, such as Meryl Streep and George Clooney in it to lend a hand. The movie is an interesting and charming adventure/comedy, which takes place in rural England, and appears to be set somewhere around modern times.
The main idea behind both the book and the movie is that Mr. Fox, a very clever animal that lives in relative tranquility decides to make trouble for his human neighbors by stealing food from their mass farms. The three farmers in the surrounding area, Walt Boggis, Nate Bunce, and Frank Bean, all have their own claims to fame in their own rights, but none of them have the guile to outwit Mr. Fox, who proceeds to take geese, chickens, and apples right from under their noses. The three nasty farmers band together to outgun Mr. Fox, who inadvertently puts his entire family, and seemingly the rest of the nearby wildlife in danger by drawing attention to his thieving actions.
One particularly interesting part of this film and how it was made is the fact that it is all stop motion capture animation. Such a meticulous method of making a movie can be easily considered obsolete, but makes a joy to watch, as well as re-watch, noticing new and fascinating details every time. The fact that all of the animals are anthropomorphic and that they all wear clothes shows the attention to detail that is astounding to see up close during many shots throughout the movie. In its own sense, the entire way that this movie is made enhances the atmosphere, because the humor in the film is very quirky at times. The fact that the animation is just as distinct as the humor only emphasizes the uniqueness of the film.
The experience of the film was enhanced through voice acting. For the most part watching animals sometimes made it somewhat difficult to tell their emotions, but the clarity and sheer skill of the actors involved in performing the voices filled in the visual gaps with auditory queues. The rich, smooth, and somewhat cocky tone of George Clooney gives early insight into the character of Mr. Fox, and Meryl Streep’s strong yet gentle voice lends an unwavering tenacity to Felicity Fox, the wife of the protagonist. So in a sense, you know what these characters are like just by listening to the voice actors playing them.
The film was very well done on many levels, the comedy being very dry and not very apparent, but ever-present, making for a unique blend of comedy and at some points, slapstick. The fact that there were many original pieces of music in the film, and even a few well known ones, shows the whimsical origins of the movie, traceable back to the book, as the producers of the film took direct quotes from the original author’s work on a number of occasions. The fact that the movie was so unique in setting, mechanics, medium, and ultimately plot, made for a very enjoyable viewing at the very least, was a breath of fresh air in the midst of sequels and large scale action movies. This is a movie most definitely worth watching.
You can watch the official movie trailer below.