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Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson’s unique story-telling style has seen him in good stead. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘The Life Aquatic’ among others have his creative stamp. His colourful comedy/dramas are difficult to describe with the director standing out from the pack. Based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book, ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ is his first foray in animation. The stop-motion techniques used worked just as well as his human-led films with Anderson’s stylish flair evident in every corner of the celluloid frame.

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) lives in a tree with his wife Mrs Fox (Meryl Streep) and son Ash (Jason Schwartzman). Although settled down as a family man with a responsible job, Mr. Fox longs for his more carefree days. Deciding on ‘one last farm raid’, he targets three nasty farmers who are making his friend’s lives hell. With the aid of Badger (Bill Murray), Mr. Fox learns the meaning of responsibility while causing ongoing mayhem.

The animation is ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’s’ main drawcard. It may look scruffy and less polished than typical animated films although that’s part of its charm. Nothing has to be perfect with the animals having a slight cartoonish feel without compromising how their real-life counterparts actually look. Coupled with the talented cast’s spirited voice-work, ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ conjures enchantment rather than twee sentimentality.

Like any good movie in this genre, ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ has a myriad of themes including acceptance and friendship. These aren’t too obvious as to distract from the main story which moves at the right pace. Although it could have been braver in providing a genuine sense of danger, generally the balance between child-like and adult story-telling is well maintained.

‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ is a consistently amusing and creative ride done in the usually quirky Wes Anderson style. He went on to film the equally rugged animated pic ‘Isle of Dogs’. Hopefully he finds time to do more of these types of films in between his bigger budgeted ones as they provide a good antidote to the plethora of eternally cute Disney-led extravaganzas.

Rating out of 10: 7

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME.

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