Friday, April 16, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop motion animated film for the entire family. There are enough good laughs for children, and the anthropromorphic animals have enough modern day quirks to make adults laugh. A real key is the Ash character. There is the unsure child story arc for kids with the Ash character that kids will latch onto. It is not as simple as 'why won't my parent(s) approve', but the character has to see their own faults, grow and change, use its skills, and perform adult acts as they prove their worth. Ash does not just ask to be treated as trustworthy or good, but he does grasp the moment, proving his value. You can't just ask for something, you must earn it.

The stop motion dollmation was refreshing to watch. Pixar movies are wonderful to watch, but I miss the old cartoon style of Rudolph style animated flicks. Fantastic Mr. Fox has nice scenes that the real dolls allow for like the sewer scene of Mr. Fox shadowed with the waterwall behind him. The scene in the cider cellar looked real with the amber glow of the cider reflected off of the figures. Anytime any animal eats, it is a wonder of having the 'food' be 3D and real as animals are messy. Pixar can't do that with the wonderful CGI they have. Wes Anderson directed, and I tip my hat to his choice to make and run with this flick. Yes, he brings in his usual suspects like Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, but I enjoy their work, so it's a win for me.

There is a great message for adults as well. Mr. Fox talks of what does a being do when they have always been considered fantastic and now live a normal life? That is part of his desire for going on his heist spree, as well as it being in his nature. Many people struggle with this all their life. Some struggle with finding meaning in anything, but for others... when you have been amazing all your life, achieving more and more, what happens when you settle into a nice groove of steady, normal life? This might be a growing problem as more and more children are brought up to believe they are unique, beautiful snowflakes and everyone is an all star when they are obviously not. For people who truly are exceptional, what happens when their are no trophies to win, no elite groups or classes to enter or praise to earn? This film touches on this subject, and it is great that they do, but sad that an animatef film tackles this subject, when so many adult dramas have a simple mid-life, melodrama crisis. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is an enjoyable film that I highly suggest for a night in. It might not touch you as it did me, but it is well worth 90 mins of your life.

***Roald Dahl was the writer of this story. Mr. Dahl was not only a creative, prolific writer, but also a flying ace in WW2. The man shot Nazis out of the sky as one of 'the few', and then turned into a great writer who created multiple classics in children's literature. Quite the life.***

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