Edited by Dorrin Gingerich
Mr. Fox (George Clooney) has made his living for years as a chicken thief, but his wife convinces him to find a less dangerous occupation. As a “wild animal,” Mr. Fox has a hard time staying content with his domestic life, and he cannot stay away from his old job for long. Conflict ensues between the fox’s family and a trio of cranky farmers, endangering the other animals in the community as well.
What Worked – The story unfolds in classic stop-motion animation. Far from feeling like a gimmick, the style adds to the storybook feel of the movie. Even as whimsical as it is, the tale incorporates a bit more emotional weight than your average kid’s story. When the farmers descend on their tree-house, the family must flee for their lives, and Mr. Fox must come to terms with the part he has played in causing the crisis. His wit, charisma, and enthusiasm have made up for a multitude of sins in the past, but they may not be enough to save him this time. We can’t help rooting for Mr. Fox, even though we realize his flaws. The movie maintains this balance and makes it look effortless, showing Mr. Fox’s cleverness and daring as well as his selfishness in his interactions with his family. George Clooney and Meryl Streep, voicing Mr. and Mrs. Fox, give great performances, and the script is well written and very funny. The banter between husband and wife flies quick and thick, and the dialog between the buoyant Mr. Fox and Kylie, his meek and harried assistant, consistently made me laugh. The movie brims with memorable and interesting side characters. Even those with very little screen-time add something to the film. Throughout, the soundtrack was cool and catchy without being overbearing.
The Director – Wes Anderson certainly has a reputation as an auteur,... but one who’s either loved or hated. He appears here in all his quirkyness, yet his style fits better with the animation of this film than it often does with live action, in my opinion. I am not familiar with Anderson’s entire catalogue, but this is my favorite of his films. Anderson worked detail and beauty into almost every frame of this movie even when the format could have been used as an excuse to keep everything simple or bland.
What Didn’t Work – Only one minor complaint. A big part of the ultimate resolution seems to come out of nowhere, and a few other scenes seem non-sequitur in a similar fashion. To be clear, each scene feels necessary, intentionally showing something new about the characters involved, but the plot may have taken a backseat as a result.
Overall – A fantastic film. The characters, the music, and the unique visuals make for a fun experience that holds up even after more than one viewing. I recommend it even for those who weren’t fans of Wes Anderson’s other films.
A quote from the movie
Mrs. Fox - If what I think is happening is happening, it better not be.
So what do you think? Is this one of the Wes Anderson's best?