Wednesday, 21 October 2009

[250] Fantastic Mr. Fox (dir. Wes Anderson, 2009) Review

I'm a fan of Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach and stop-motion animation, so was very surprised to see the three of them collide in an adaptation of a Roald Dahl book that I was certainly read as a child, even if I don't recall much of it as an adult. It's a film worth your time, definitely.

Did you notice? Autumn's here. I know it's hard. We're either sitting in offices, in classrooms, in living rooms, staring at computer screens, or watching Flash Forward with ever diminishing enthusiasm, with the curtains closed and the heating cranked for the first time in months.

But with that acrid stench of collected radiator dust, you're missing the beautiful orange loveliness going on outside (probably). You've just not twigged, you were too busy jostling on the bus, packing on the train, or furiously cycling (always cycling). But here's a tip. If you make one knowing nod to the current season, go and see Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson's adaptation of the Roald Dahl children's book.

Fantastic Mr. Fox, from the very beginning, posits itself as a perfectly Autumnal film. It is, at its heart, subtly ambiguous, with neither the sunny optimism of summer films, or the 'chestnuts roasting' sentimentalism of Christmas cinema, instead exhibiting a wistful, roughshod charm, a fascination with nature, and a wry sense of humour.

Key to this aesthetic is the textured, tactile dimension brought to the film by its stop-motion animation, with figures designed by Corpse Bride artisans MacKinnon and Saunders, photographed by Aardman DP Tristan Oliver, and manipulated at London's Three Mills studios. Unlike Tim Burton's 2005 piece, however, Fantastic Mr. Fox isn't polished to perfection. There is a retro, old-fashioned glow to the whole enterprise, giving the film the welcoming air of a big-hearted labour of love.

Read the full article here.

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