Wes Anderson has truly outdone himself. While his last film was his most mature (The Darjeeling Limited), Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the Roald Dahl novel, is far more adult and crowd pleasing than anyone could possibly imagine, even with the use of stop-motion and a family-friendly orientation.
While Anderson’s films have also never been box office gold (his highest grossing, The Royal Tenenbaums, only pulled in $52 million) they have also suffered from a case of love them or hate them. While they mainly appeal to the art house crowd, they have always been favorites of mine. I hope that the times are changing for Mr. Anderson, although with an opening gross of only $6.9 million it looks like Fox Searchlight needs to find a better way to market this astounding achievement.
Not since the heyday of Aardman (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and the underrated Flushed Away) has a stop-motion feature film been so full of so many different things. While it does have its depictions of alcohol use, smoking, and slang curse words, (the word “cuss” is used with abundance) most of those things are used with such innocence the youngest members will hardly recognize them. Although, if your children are going to pick up any kind of curse word from watching movies, I can’t think of any cussin’ better.
Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) lives a mischievous life with a day job of killing and stealing chickens. One night while out with Mrs. Fox (voiced by Meryl Streep) they are caught in a trap where Mrs. Fox informs Mr. Fox that she is pregnant. The fake smile plastered upon Mr. Fox’s face will instantly delight and bowl you over with laughter and this is all within the opening few minutes. Mrs. Fox demands Mr. Fox to give up his dangerous job for the sake of their new family, which he obliges.