Sunday, December 27, 2009

Movie Review - Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox - **1/2

Directed by:  Wes Anderson

Starring:  George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray

Review:  This is a movie that I liked more than the amount of stars I gave it would lead you to believe.  This is a very original movie and I love the stop-motion animation used to bring this to life.  Wes Anderson has always had a dry cookie sense of humor and using this type of animation truly gives it greater life than any human actually could.

The movie centers around Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney), a former thief who had to give up the life to be a family man as his wife was pregnant with their first fox cub.  Mr. Fox does this to appease his wife but is not happy with his life.  As such, he decides to move into a better home and try to upgrade his family's life.  However, a new home is just not quite enough.  This leads Mr. Fox back to the thieving trade to get up class food and cider for his family that he steals from the three farmers that live near his tree.

Mr. Fox slowly gets many prominent members of the community involved in the thievery which then turns a small operation into an all out war.  The farmers attempt to upend Mr. Fox by digging out his tree and then shooting him, bur Mr. Fox and the rest of community just dig deeper into the ground where they are able to devise a plan to outthwart the farmers.

This uprising is lead by Mr. Fox and still involves stealing the farmers' goods.  It appears, even though stealing almost cost him his life and it did cost him his home, he has still not learned and it only coaxes him further back into this dangerous life.  Greed can corrupt like this, but does not make one a bad person.  Mr. Fox wanted to keep taking more and more but his original purpose was to provide for his family.  This does not completely justify his actions but shows that he is a good man, he just has to fight the "wild animal" within.

Mr. Fox rarely apologizes for what he does and never looks back or sulks or sees anything as a failure.  Rather, each new setback is an opportunity to capitalize even more, even if it seems like a better idea to just pack up and go home.  This is an interesting take on such a story.  The ending is more or less happy, and there is some growth to Mr. Fox and most of the inhabitants in this story, but it is not a feel good cuddly type.  You see, we leave this moving knowing that these animals may not change and may always be "wild animals," but their perspective has definitely changed and they have a better idea of what matters in life, which is something I feel everyone should take from this movie.

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