Logline: A society of animals is put in danger after a fox steals from some villainous famers.
After reading some updates on Wes Anderson’s upcoming animation ‘Isle of Dogs’, I thought I’d revisit his previous endeavour in stop-motion animation and what an endeavour it is. ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ is an impressively charming and typically quirky Anderson film. So many facets of it are drenched in personality – from the story and dialogue to the animation and sets.
The film is, of course, an adaptation of the book by the same name by English author Roald Dahl but Anderson has overtly chosen to highlight certain themes within the text. Fractured families and complicated relationship are prominent in Anderson’s filmography and, even in a children’s film, he is still able to accentuate them in ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’. Mr. Fox’s relationship with both his son and his wife are so tragically complicated. Likewise, the relationship between the neglected son, Ash, and his seemingly perfect cousin, Kristofferson, is filled with tension and resentment. There’s even a painfully tender moment when Mrs. Fox tells her husband: ‘I love you, but I shouldn’t have married you’.
Of course, these morose elements alone are not strictly typical of Anderson’s style, there needs to be some humour to counterpoint the sadness. And, again, there’s plenty in this film whether it be dialogue jokes delivered by the hugely impressive cast list or witty visual gags.
As for the animation, it seems imperfect in comparison to the sleek Disney and Pixar films that are so ubiquitous today – but that’s what makes it so good. You’re able to see the small strands of fur on the characters move during a shot which alerts you to the fact it’s stop-motion animation but it gives it an unparalleled amount of personality and heart. The animation interacts so well with the cinematography and set design as well. It goes without saying that Anderson’s colour schemes and palettes are second to none and ‘FMF’ is just another example of this. This film was also a great showcase of Anderson’s love of cross-sectioned sets and, also, 2 dimensional looking shots where the whole set is shot from straight on making it looking so flat.
I think this is a very enjoyable and impressive move, I’m quite enamoured with its style and personality. Much like his work on ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, Alexandre Desplat’s score is so fun to listen to – his choice of instruments compliment the setting and nature of the story so well. ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ is delicately poignant and pleasantly humorous, it definitely ranks as one of the better Roald Dahl adaptations.