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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
George Clooney
Bill Murray
Jason Schwartzman
Jarvis Cocker
Meryl Streep
Willem Dafoe
Michael Gambon
Owen Wilson
Wally Wolodarsky
Eric Anderson.
Directors
Wes Anderson.
Screenwriters
Roald Dahl.
Running Time
90 minutes

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Fantastic Mr. Fox
Roald Dahl in the style of meerkat.com


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Plot
Mr. Fox (Clooney), a fox with a high opinion of himself, is struggling to set aside his chicken-stealing habits and settle down to family life. When a trio of wicked farmers relocate to his woods, the temptation to show how fantastic he is proves too great...


Review
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Browse more images »
In this era of photo-realising the fantastic and precision-made stop-motion prettyscapes, it is oddly gratifying to find that Wes Anderson, in his first sole venture into an animated universe, is having none of it. He is still busy ploughing his wry indie groove, only now in the guise of miniature foxes of rubbery complexion.

Of course, Anderson has dabbled in quirky animation before — those deep-sea sideshows in The Life Aquatic hinting atan appreciation for puppetry, and there’sa stop-motion patina to his real-world explorations, films so laidback they might have been coached into fruition frame-by-frame. So we shouldn’t be surprised that the director has ditched human actors for pipe-cleaner animals, nor that the result is so idiosyncratic, charming and funny.

This unforeseen fusion of spiky English fabulist and effacing Texan moviemaker makes sense. Despite remaining Roald Dahl’s caustic morality tale about a conceited fox, it is also demonstrably one of Anderson’s mild-mannered odes to crackpot families of neurotics and nitwits. Pompous fathers, dysfunctional offspring, and bumbling neighbours: the whole gamut of oddballs come rendered in a lo-fi stop-motion barely a twitch or two above the work of Clangers maestro Oliver Postgate from ’70s British telly. Despite the contradiction of American voices, such Bagpussian familiarity grants it a teashop Englishness that fits Dahl right on the nose. From there on, it’s liberally adapted into The Royal Tenenbaums in fur.

The story starts and finishes with Mr. Fox’s inability to settle down as he — roping in his putz of a best friend, Rickity (an opossum) — plots a series of foolish raids on nearby farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean (Dahl’s sing-song description, “one short, one fat, one lean”, is visualised with wicked panache). The upshot, amongst many, is that Mr. Fox will lose his tail (a real dent in his fox-about-town image) and the local animal community will lose its community. Meanwhile, and here comes the Wes stuff, he also can’t connect with his under-sized, self-absorbed cub, Ash (Jason Schwartzman), a situation exacerbated by the arrival of Ash’s cousin, a top-fox at sport, vixens and, so it proves, chicken robbery.

Such storytelling delight comes not in the exactitude of the animation, although it has a certain psychedelic dazzle, but how cunningly it conveys character, humour and, like Nick Park’s screwy Yorkshire, a deviant version of modern life.

Thanks to the guile of the director and his animators, the whole see-the-joins short-hand possesses a splendour of tiny nuance, like the creepy glow of cigarettes clamped in Bean’s (Michael Gambon) jaw, or a witty trick with eyeballs switching from black beads to white marbles daubed with baffled spirals. There’s a sublime marriage here of script and technique. George Clooney’s Mr. Fox is smarmy both in the actor’s unhurried delivery of his mid-life crisis and in silky texture, while Meryl Streep’s Mrs. Fox has a softness both in her sighing over a luckless marriage and in her orangeade-coloured fur that stands on end when her husband’s braggadocio leads this menagerie of Wind In The Willows drop-outs into a succession of jams. It may be slight as a feather (a quality Anderson holds dear) and vexing for Dahl purists, but for a film so outwardly bonkers, it works like a dream.


Verdict
Genuinely original: a silly, hilarious and oddly profound adaptation for adult-sized children


Reviewed by Ian Nathan


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Average user rating for Fantastic Mr. Fox
Empire Star Rating

RE: Yep, that's a Wes Anderson movie alright...

The Fantastic Mr Fox was the first Wes Anderson film since Rushmore which I really liked. All the films in between seemed rather precious and terribly pleased with their own whimsicality and the characters never rung true to me, they were more like sounding boards for Anderson's conceits than anything else. The fact that Mr Fox is an animation film made the archness and emphasis on artificiality work for me. He also works with ideas other than his own by adapting Dahl, whose play on anthropomor... More

Posted by Herr Schnitzel at 14:13, 25 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Yep, that's a Wes Anderson movie alright...

I was really disappointed with this. I'm a massive fan of every single one of Anderson's other films, but this one just didn't seem to have a soul. Instead, it had Meryl fucking Streep. There are a couple of neat sequences - particularly the one cut to the Beach Boys' Heroes and Villains - but it was too smug, poorly paced and seriously muddled in terms of what it was trying to do. Sorry to be a grump. I still can't wait for Anderson's next one. ... More

Posted by rick_7 at 14:03, 25 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Yep, that's a Wes Anderson movie alright...

I watched this for the first time a little while ago, very much enjoyed it. Possibly a little too heavy on angst (I guess that's just Wes Anderson for you though?) but everything else great fun. Good soundtrack, excellent and effective animation and a generally quite bonkers tone! Oh, and very funny! ... More

Posted by Super Hans at 13:26, 25 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Brilliant

I love this. Watched a documentary on the making of it,amazing effort put in. Possibly the greatest voice ensemble in an animated film ever. It´s not like the book,it´s too Anderson....yes and it´s better for it. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 10:01, 22 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Brilliant

Probably the freshest and most original children's movie ever made. Awesome from start to finish. Smart, stylish, funny - what more can a Dahl fan want?  ... More

Posted by bozo at 21:13, 21 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Brilliant

Fantastic Mr. Fox a stop-motion animation from Wes Anderson about anthropomorphic animals and their run-ins with the local farmers. When one of the first lines Mr. Fox (George Clooney) comes out with is "Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I'm saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I?", you know this has its adult audience firmly in mind as well as the kiddies, and it keeps those standards throughout - e.g. replacing swearing with the word... More

Posted by KeithM at 00:05, 03 May 2011 | Report This Post


Brilliant

I went to see this in the cinema with my liitle brother and thought it was going to be rubbish but I realy enjoyed it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 11:06, 06 March 2011 | Report This Post


Fantastic Mr. Fox is the movie adaptation of Ronald Dahl's book of the same name. Mr. Fox finds himself with a family and a nice home in a sensible job and becomes bored with what his life has become. He remembers the days of Chicken killing and stealing and longs for the excitement of that life again. With the help of his Possum friend he takes it upon himself to pick up were he left off many years ago. Unfortunately he puts his family's life and that of the animal community at risk when the lo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by zedphelan at 16:10, 04 September 2010 | Report This Post


Unmissable

It's a real shame that 'Up' had to be released in the same year because otherwise I would have voted for this in the best animated film award for this is a wonderful and original movie that will thoroughly entertain people of all ages. Pure joy. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by !xHoTRoDx! at 21:59, 20 June 2010 | Report This Post


Beautifully crafted stop-motion film from Wes Anderson after the well known Roald Dahl childrens book. Good voice cast and entertaining to keep you focussed at all times. 7,0/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:15, 30 April 2010 | Report This Post


F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C-!

To begin with I declare: This is one of the most smart and intelligent animations ever made!!!!Wes Anderson delivers us a delicate allegorical piece of art that stands for family bonds and how personalties evolve througout them...witty...emotional...still wondering weather to watch it or not??? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by teo at 20:40, 06 April 2010 | Report This Post


Cussing great Fox

I loved this movie. Finally, Wes Anderson achieves the promise of his early films. Funny, moving, quirky, silly. Brilliant spoof on heist movies. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 22:31, 29 March 2010 | Report This Post


Pretty Torn About This.

The postives of Fantastic Mr Fox are: it's very well done, a good set of voice actors and looks beautiful on Blu-Ray with a few laughs along the way. The negatives are: I'm torn about it. There wasn't anything for kids, the humour wasn't that good for adults. It's inbetween, I wasn't laughing out loud or adored the characters at all. The song they played over and over again grew annoying though it appeared in the book, here on film it was getting on my nerves. Far too up itself, I hate when movi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 10:14, 14 March 2010 | Report This Post


Pretty Torn About This.

The postives of Fantastic Mr Fox are: it's very well done, a good set of voice actors and looks beautiful on Blu-Ray with a few laughs along the way. The negatives are: I'm torn about it. There wasn't anything for kids, the humour wasn't that good for adults. It's inbetween, I wasn't laughing out loud or adored the characters at all. The song they played over and over again grew annoying though it appeared in the book, here on film it was getting on my nerves. Far too up itself, I hate when movi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 10:14, 14 March 2010 | Report This Post


What the Cuss!

Well not too impressed! Watching it now my 6 year old son has fallen asleep (not a good sign for the target audience!) I usually love Wes Anderson but this just seems a bit too smug and up it's own arse. There were a few funny moments I liked Michael Gambon berating Jarvis Cocker's song for instance, but the rest felt too much like The Royal Tenenbaums which it shouldn't really, by the way I like that film. It just seems like someone said "Oh look we've got a fox talking about existentili... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andybee76 at 21:29, 05 March 2010 | Report This Post


Boggis, Bunce & Bean. One fat, one short, one lean.

Another fantastic movie from Fantastic Mr. Anderson. A silly, heartwarming and thrilling movie. This is just the kind of animated films we need. I enjoyed it like no other movie and it caused a sensation I've never felt before. Anderson and Baumach did an incredibly great adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's classic. One of the best pictures of the year, and of the decade. This is A Great Movie! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 18:50, 24 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Fantastic! A refreshing movie that had me laughing all the way through - a unique film, well it is a Wes Anderson film. For me, the quirky nature along with everything else had me hooked despite the simplistic story (which is meant to be simple BECAUSE THE BOOK WAS). It all washed well and, along with Coraline & Up, this is quality. 10/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robwillphill at 20:16, 30 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

I'm torn by this, it's very much not the Roald Dahl book that I know and love, and actually, is so far from the plot and feel of it I wonder if it should really be advertised as an adaptation. My main issue would be with Mr Fox himself, I always remembered him being incredibly likable, and charming in the book and audio tapes as a kid but I found the character really hard to warm to here, he was a typical Anderson father, which I don't think Mr Fox should have been. That said, I think D... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Meve at 10:09, 23 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: i was not amused

Absolutely loved this. No it's not the book (which I also loved as a kid) and it's by no means a kids film, just a highly entertaining, very funny film that happens to animated. 4 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 19:58, 22 November 2009 | Report This Post


i was not amused

it was a real disappointment to see a good story, good cast and average director go to waste on a film that has no fucking clue what it's meant to be. it doesn't really matter, cause it fails as a roald dahl story, fails as a children's film and fails as a wes anderson flick. roald dahl has a dark side to his stories for adults who understood the complexities of life and a light side for children just learning about the world, this film is so stuck on realism it ends up being dark for the wrong ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by maxthom at 11:13, 21 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Yep, that's a Wes Anderson movie alright...

Mr. Fox is one of the runners up for Oscars ... More

Posted by Timmy_Brisby_05 at 00:50, 15 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Yep, that's a Wes Anderson movie alright...

I loved the movie - I thought it was hilarious and witty and so much better than Where the Wild things Are (another children's story adapted by an unconventional director). I also liked the 'old-fashioned' stop-motion animation. If you did like the movie I took these pictures of the Science Lab set and models at a cinema here in L.A.: http://hollywoodmoviecostumesandprops.blogspot.com/2009 /11/fantastic-mr-fox-stop-motion-animation.html ... More

Posted by jasoninhollywood at 19:54, 14 November 2009 | Report This Post


Horrible!

Just awful. Roald Dahl is widely recognised as one of the greats of children's literature writers but you absolutely would not know it judging by this travesty of a film. No magic, no charm, just a sickeningly self-indulgent series of nods and winks to Wes Anderson. The animation was terribly weak when you compare to the work done for 'Coraline' for example. The creatures looked ugly, their personalities were irritating to a man (or quadraped) and needless additions to the cast only worsened m... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by thechair at 11:21, 14 November 2009 | Report This Post


Something about this just left me a little cold. Not funny enough, Dahl-esque or British for my liking. I don't see how American foxes come to be in the British countryside! However, the animation was different, even if there were moments when I hoped it would show off the sets and things more. A points the 2D digging scenes felt like a video-game. More liked ot have seen more from Bogis, Bunce and Bean. Only Bean (Gambon?) gets anything to say. The other two merely grunt, agree or disagree... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pipkin3 at 20:38, 12 November 2009 | Report This Post


Yep, that's a Wes Anderson movie alright...

..which for some of us is not a great thing. The characters talk incessantly, there's are raft of pointless sub-plots added and the story takes forever to go anywhere. This film has the achievement of being the first time I've nodded off in the cinema (at 4 in the afternoon!). I doubt Mr Fox's existentional crisis really reasonated with the six-year-olds in the audience. Just watch James and the Giant Peach to see how this should have been done. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MonkeysDad at 11:35, 12 November 2009 | Report This Post


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