REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

30 11 2009

It might not seem odd at first, but soon after being immersed in the world of “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” you are bound to notice that all the characters are saying the word cuss, used as a substitute for any necessary expletives, with great frequency.  In a brilliant stroke of ingenious mischief, Wes Anderson finds a way to tone down the movie with dumbing it down.  He takes everything that audiences love about his live-action features – the dysfunctional families, the eclectic music, the geometric shots, the conscious cinematography, and all the quirks – and refuses to surrender to the family movie.  Style intact, Anderson makes a movie that audiences will realize isn’t all that different from his other pictures.

The cast of characters might seem a little bit familiar to fans of Anderson’s work.  Mr. Fox (George Clooney) is a flawed father struggling to accept his responsibilities to his family, and he yearns for his furtive days of hunting.  Trying to rediscover his true self, he embarks on a series of ultimately successful raids on the crotchety neighboring farmers with the wonderfully neurotic opossum Kylie (Wallace Wolodarsky).  This is all to the dismay of Mrs. Felicity Fox (Meryl Streep), his caring but somewhat disapproving wife.  Knowing Wes Anderson, the family drama can’t end there.  Their son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman), can’t seem to live up to his father’s legacy.  In addition, he begins to feel like second fiddle to his dad when naturally gifted cousin Kristofferson (Eric Chase Anderson) comes to stay with the family.  The classic “hunted become the hunters” story intertwines with the family turmoil as Mr. Fox angers the dim-witted farmers adjacent to their dwelling.  Using their wile, the rodents are able to outsmart and outmaneuver their foes.

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