Fantastic Mr Fox review

A review of 2009’s Fantastic Mr Fox, directed by Wes Anderson

The whitty charm and nostalgic aesthetic of Wes Anderson prevalent at its finest in this personal look into the lives of the Fox family. Stop motion's micro-intensive handmade quality is the perfect medium for Wes Anderson it's creativity serves to be a paper-made summation of Anderson's style of filmmaking and emphasis on stunning aesthetics. His films have always had a very stylised look to them, the world in which his characters inhabit having an almost miniature sized doll house vibe to them. This has never been more apparent in Fantastic Mr Fox. Every shot in the film has a very specific purpose and looks like it could be pulled from the screen and hung up on your wall as a work of art. To say there was an attention to detail in this film is an offensive understatement.

Not only is the mise-en-scene, combined with the cinematography, beautiful but Wes Anderson’s takes advantage of the camera to its full effect. This is evident in the first few minutes of the film as he rarely cuts, either jump or smash cutting when he does to emphasise the comedic effect; this over top an incredibly long stop motion tracking shot, has the audience astounded and in awe of the work that goes into a 20 second shot like this. Characters break the fourth wall subtly enough to not take away from the story but used to emphasise the fun and thought that went into this film. 

Animators can be seen as actors themselves and particularly in this film, the animation combined with the performances of the voice actors creates believable characters that you can't help but root for. Mr Fox is the villain of his own story yet George Clooney brings charisma and charm like no other, perfectly married with Meryl Streep’s stern yet vulnerable adoration as Mrs Fox. Jason Swartzman portrays Ash’s childlike frustration and emotional transparency with a relatable sentiment, Andersons usual suspects playing perfectly off each other with a sincere yet humorous practicality as the rest of the woodland ensemble.

Once again, Wes Anderson pulls off emotional sincerity and humorous whit in the same beat while still incorporating real and relatable themes that appeal to a cross-generational audience. Loss of identity is something the majority face at some point yet Wes brings a seemingly fresh perspective to the look into each characters relationship with thier identity and that of those around them.

The both non-diegetic and diegetic music used in the film accelerates the undeniable fun of the movie while Alexandre Desplat’s score highlights the whimsy of the film. Emphasising rather than undercutting the emotional moments with tracks such as Canis Lupus the score helps to bring home the emotional messages of the film while the soundtrack serves to add grounding fantasy. 

Few films are so widely loved across such a multi-generational audience yet each aspect of Fantastic Mr Fox works in such harmony with each other that creates an incredible viewing experience that is undeniably a joy to watch. I love this film and will never stop watching it in awe at each little detail that presents itself on each viewing. 

5/5 stars

Author

Ellis Waynforth

Ellis Waynforth

BFI Film student

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1 Comments

  • Tom Inniss

    On 11 January 2021, 11:21 Tom Inniss Voice Team commented:

    Not ashamed to admit that Fantastic Mr Fox is one of my absolute favourite films! It's beautifully crafted, well written, with suburb line delivery. Just wonderful. Thanks for the review and reminding me I'm due to re-watch it...

    'I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice,' are words I live by.

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