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Review

Family film earns fantastic title

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December 4, 2009

I have come to the conclusion that I love animals. Not all animals of course, but enough of them where I can generally say I like them as a whole. I’m almost 100 percent confident that they can make some of the greatest friends we know. I mean seriously, think about all your friends right now. You love them, right? Of course you do! Do you always agree on everything? No. Do they sometimes talk incessantly? Yes. Do they sometimes not talk enough? Yes… c’mon Katie what’s your point!?

My point is that you don’t have to really worry about that with an animal. Hell no! You can “talk” with an animal for hours on end, about ANYTHING, and they’ll love, like, hate, or loathe with you on any subject you choose. When the time comes to zip the lip, they magically close their mouths and all you see is your cute little furry friend scratching themselves or showing you affection. What’s not to like?

I’m saying all this because I’m pretty sure Wes Anderson had the same thing on his mind during the filming of “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Replete with several of Hollywood’s big namers (including my George), the film is based on the Roald Dahl children’s classic from the 70’s, where a sly Mr. Fox decides to attack the delicious contents of three farms he lives near. When the farmers, three brutish men by the name of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean discover their prize-winning chickens, gooses, and cider are missing, the epicness begins. What ensues next is a battle so monumental and so timeless only the imaginations of Roald Dahl and our dear director friend Wes can capture its full magnitude. With a whole scurry of rodent friends in tow, Mr. Fox has to try to outscheme and outwit:

“Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were nonetheless equally mean.”

Filmed through the craft of Claymation, the characters in this film are not only fun to listen to, but also to watch. Whoever designed the animals, my props go out to you, for the color, look and texture of each seemed to be nothing short of realistic (minus the clothes, of course). Like all of Wes’ films, each character’s personality matches their attire, which generally is all their own, filled with eccentricity, humor and quirkiness that you can’t help but smile at, especially when delivered in a dry and subtle way. The casting for these ostentatious animals includes, as I said before, some pretty big names. Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe and Jason Schwartzman all have a hand in bringing to life the setting and the story. The music too, even with its quirky, twangy, country style had charm and fit the scenes and the creatures just right. While I think very young children would be confused by the dialogue and the dry humor, I would recommend that parents see and maybe take their kids to it anyway, for the visuals alone could be enjoyable to a six or seven-year-old.

So there you have it, another week down, another movie found. With its wonderful humor, unique casting and creative imagery, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to check out Wes’ new take on the animal kingdom. Filled with the fantastic, Mr. Fox and his friends surely are friends we would want to know.

Katie Heaton is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.