Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" indeed

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a fun, stop-animated film. I hadn't read the Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) book, but I still enjoyed it. Wes Anderson (The Darjeeling Limited) wrote the screenplay and directed the film.

Mr. Fox (a very recognizable George Clooney) is a skilled chicken stealer, as many foxes are. When he and his pregnant wife, Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep), get caught in a trap, he vows never to steal another chicken.

Fast forward a few fox years, Fox decides that he doesn't want to live in a hole anymore and wants to buy a tree house. His lawyer Badger (Bill Murray) advises him against it, but he does anyway. Meanwhile, his son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) is not like other foxes his age, and he's not very athletic. Ash's cousin Kristofferson comes to stay with them, and he is very athletic - which makes Ash jealous.

Eventually Fox gets the urge to steal again. He and the super at his tree house, an opossum named Kylie, decide to take on the three most successful farmers - Boggis, Bunce and Bean. They succeed in stealing the chickens, but they don't stop there. A comical thick-Southern-accented Rat (Willem Dafoe), a guard at the Bean house, can't keep them from stealing Bean's alcoholic cider. When the farmers decide to seek revenge on Fox, they destroy his house and put the lives of the other animals in danger.

Mr. Fox must then save his family and the other animals and redeem himself for getting them into such a mess. At times I wasn't sure if this took place in the United States or in the U.K. because Clooney was throwing me off, but then I knew once they had a show-down in front of the Nag's Head Pub (which I've been to in London). The film is witty and clever, and the stop-animation is incredible.

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