Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Wes Anderson's best movie since The Royal Tenenbaums. Although you sort of get the sense that Roald Dahl, as this Slate piece points out, probably wouldn't have liked it so much. Its weird saying this about a children's book, but I wish I had reread the source material before I had seen it. I know that Anderson takes a lot of plot detours to stretch things out, and I am pretty sure of what they were-but I'd like to see just how much Anderson had changed things around. Or maybe I would have liked to revisit something I loved when I was younger. Roald Dahl really was the king when I was growing up. I think it takes someone with Wes Anderson's aesthetic and viewpoint to make it work. I think he and Noah Baumbach (also weird!) did a good job in the adaptation, marrying both their styles with Dahl's story, and coming up with something completely entertaining. Just as everyone else has already pointed out the Rankin-Bass-style of animation makes it feel very special, and in a strange sort of way..tactile. If that makes sense. But its not only a nice way to tell the story, amid the influx of C.G.I. its also amazing in its "quaintness". For a Dahl story, one might hope they would get a cast of British actors (I saw a preview for a movie by the writers of "Sexy Beast" that had Ray Winstone, John Hurt, and Ian MacShane, start there) But I thought the voice actors were all really spot on for their roles, I especially liked Jason Schwartzman, Wallace Wolodarsky as Kylie and Eric Chase Anderson as Kristofferson. (Big ups for making a Jarvis Cocker puppet too! And having Brian Cox along too!) It revels in music, dance, friendship, and family. It balances Anderson' trademark melancholy with an almost insane optimism, in the end its pretty life-affirming. I thought it was a pretty amazing achievement.