The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Features, Shorts, Live-Action and Direct-To-Video
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Post by ELIOLI » November 27th, 2009, 11:47 am

Never doubted ya ;)
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Post by Dacey » December 6th, 2009, 12:13 pm

Caught both this and "Planet 51" the other day.

Pretty interesting experience, actually, to see a brilliant, daring animated film like "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and then watch a bland, almost appallingly predictable movie like "Planet 51."

It's also interesting to point out that I liked the trailers for "Planet 51" respectively more than I liked the ads for "Mr. Fox." After reading reviews, I figured that I'd end up liking the latter anyway, but I was still expecting to find "51" a bit more clever than I did.

Anyway, if you haven't already, make sure you see the fox. I know that I'm only the umpteenth person to say this, but he truly is fantastic. ;)
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift--that is why it's called the present."

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Post by GRUNT » January 3rd, 2010, 6:57 am

Just saw Fantastic Mr Fox yesterday :].

I have to say that Mr Anderson really does seem to have a natural flair for directing animation. I enjoyed 'Fantastic Mr Fox' immensely - it's a very clever and good-looking film, with some truly inspired moments and shots.

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Post by EricJ » January 9th, 2010, 4:07 pm

Took a while for our arthouse to get it, but...sorry Ben, I stand by and reiterate all comments made earlier:
You'll have to excuse me for sounding in a grumpier mood (yes, "than usual"), but I'd just seen "Avatar" for the first time earlier this week and walked out at the halfway point seeing that there was no hope or future in staying around for the rest of it...
When our loyal local theater got the nice quirky animated that might show up at the Oscars, I thought "Well, that'll be more like it :) "--And it was only out of courtesy to the folks here (and the fact that it was a shorter movie) that kept me from walking out on THIS one at the 30-human-minute mark. :?

I tried to be balanced--I love Roald Dahl adaptations when they've read the book, I like George Clooney in "O Brother Where Art Thou", and think that Wes Anderson is The Most Insufferable Human Being Alive....Can't get much more balanced than that. :P
Maybe it was that our theater showed the "Up in the Air" trailer right before the main feature, but I was conscious that Clooney was playing the exact same character--the smug gift-of-gab moral-vacuum executive glibly trying to gloss over his change of mid-life--that made me picture Anderson giggling his hip-pretentious self silly that he was putting it...IN A CHILDREN'S STORY! (And he gives them a pep talk with their Latin names because they're really just ANIMALS, get it?)
Suffice to say, nobody's letting Wes anywhere near "Wind in the Willows"...But we've had so many other Dreamworks and BlueSky CGI movies made by carpetbagging grownup directors who wouldn't know what children want in a children's story if it bit 'em in the bottled water, it just wasn't funny anymore: I repeat, the first ten minutes really did play like what would've otherwise been a hilariously biting SNL parody on What If Wes Anderson Did a Kids' Film. (Eg. "The story of a magic squirrel who tried to get his life together as he quits his go-nowhere job advertising restaurant chains and returns to reunite his quirky dysfunctional family." :roll:)
Every time the movie sidetracked to the faux-Rushmore wisecrack-spewing high-school story of Ash jealous of Kristofferson, I sat there grimly looking at my watch thinking "For the love of gods, Wes, we JUST HAD the 'Crabby creepy-emo son who saves the day because he thinks he can't live up to his father' in Horton Hears a Who; did you think you were the only yuppie-dad-trying-to-turn-children's-screenwriter who artificially pulled that one out of his hat?"

Yes, the animation was nice, but knowing that we were "supposed" to get Henry Selick just kept my mind back on what made "Coraline" such a cool film--
Selick had enough respect for fantasy to put you into the twisted world of Neil Gaiman, Anderson would rather follow a Dahl story-outline, but stay "above" it with hip emotionally-empty wisecracks, self-deconstructing hip-gags, smarmy CN-style screen captions, and whatever offbeat alternative-song he can call attention to on the soundtrack. One of the two requires the ownership of an actual soul.
And I'll be fair and ask it as a question--Okay, some folks here liked it: Did anyone have a freakin' clue what Wes thought he was doing capping the rib-nudging "wolf" running gag at the end?...Could he give us a HINT? What the cussin' cuss?? :shock:

(Insert smarmy Ben wisecrack about how nobody listens to psycho ol' EricJ go off on a tear again, because he picked on a movie that the webmaster liked.) :wink:

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Post by Dacey » January 9th, 2010, 7:40 pm

You know, Eric, I can't really speak about how kids react to "Mr. Fox," since I honestly have no idea about that matter, but I know a lot of children love "Horton Hears a Who!", which would strongly indicate that the folks behind that "knew how to make a good kids' movie." :)

And as for the last comment of your post...seriously, exactly what was the point of that?
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Post by estefan » January 9th, 2010, 7:47 pm

While I did like the film overall, I actually do agree with some of Eric's points. The cast wasn't bad, but only Bill Murray and Michael Gambon stood out for me, mainly because their bits were the closest to Dahlsian-style dialogue. I actually think that a British cast would have been better in this regard, to match the English scenery of the piece. I had no problem with the American cast of Matilda, but I felt they should have gone with an ensemble of actors who would have sounded more appropriate for an Roald Dahl adaptation. And how strange that an actress like Meryl Streep can be so forgettable, but then again, Mrs Fox was somewhat under-written.

I also agree that the sub-plot involving Fox's son was un-necessary and also surprisingly cliche for Anderson. Every time, we got the family rivalry between the two cousins, I was waiting for the film to return to the chicken-stealing plot which provides most of the film's laughs and connection to the book. And incidentally, this is definitely one of the more faithful adaptations to a Dahl story.

Overall, I did like it but I can name six animated films this year that are superior and more deserving of an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature (The Princess and the Frog, Ponyo, Up, Coraline, Mary & Max and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs).

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Post by Ben » January 10th, 2010, 8:51 am

Eric...you're sure to be disappointed, because you'll get no smarmy wisecrack from me (or did I just make one?)...

Basically, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I put in my review that Fox would split audiences down the middle. It's a love or hate film, fair enough. And because I loved it doesn't mean I'm going to crack down on those that didn't...you don't know me so well, obviously.

But at least you went and <I>saw</I> the movie, so your comments were more grounded this time, and you made a lot of sense. Actually, though, without my going overboard on harping on about <I>each</I> issue, I did point out as much of that in my review, or allude to it, while also spending more time praising the good points.

But there you go...some people like this movie - and like it very much - and other people don't like the movie, or see "too much Wes" in it. All I know is that you didn't need to be rude - or focus just on me - about those who do like it, of which there seem to be a fair few outweighing the "meh" minority.

Nice to see better, more well rounded and less bitterly constructed comments from you, but "must try harder" as they say.

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Post by EricJ » January 10th, 2010, 11:27 am

Dacey wrote:You know, Eric, I can't really speak about how kids react to "Mr. Fox," since I honestly have no idea about that matter, but I know a lot of children love "Horton Hears a Who!", which would strongly indicate that the folks behind that "knew how to make a good kids' movie." :)
Since it was the movie's first time in town, the theater was packed with parents and kids who'd read the real Roald Dahl book--
The 6-yo.'s in the audience giggled every time the possum's eyes glazed over, but...I don't think that was quite the specific laff Anderson had in mind. But then, they had to laugh at something.
The possum being frustratingly hard to explain things to was "quirky", but Wes...kids don't do Quirky. Hate to break the finer pitfalls of the genre to you.
estefan wrote:I also agree that the sub-plot involving Fox's son was un-necessary and also surprisingly cliche for Anderson. Every time, we got the family rivalry between the two cousins, I was waiting for the film to return to the chicken-stealing plot which provides most of the film's laughs and connection to the book. And incidentally, this is definitely one of the more faithful adaptations to a Dahl story.
MST3K's Mike Nelson once wrote a column saying that Anderson's script for "Rushmore" was like, quote, "Watching a movie with an entire cast of characters who'd been revived at an evil Pet Sematary..." (Which, btw, it was like...And when Nelson says a film is unwatchably mean-spirited, ladies & gentlemen, be afraid. 8) )
It wasn't so much that Anderson intentionally wanted to copy Horton's licks, so much as he was distractedly more at home writing a character about hip-spewing evil-Juno Rushmore-cast teens making Gen-Y cynical comments about other people's double-pneumonia, than he was in exploring whatever made Roald Dahl his favorite book (as he hinted in the opening shot).
Hate to sound like Peter Pan, but once you grow up the wrong way, there are just some things you just can't get back, period. Which is one of the reason we like Pixar movies so danged "mysteriously" much, John Lasseter and Brad Bird didn't grow up. :)

(And while "Matilda" wasn't a perfect adaptation, at least Danny DeVito understood that the "spirit" of Dahl is good, sweet characters being menaced by big, belching over-the-top grownup baddies...Wes tried to get that right, but when one of said baddies has a slacker-teen son gaping over his cereal at the TV news, he's got a ways to go in grasping the deeper elements of it.)

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Post by Whippet Angel » January 10th, 2010, 3:25 pm

No offense EricJ, but as someone who occasionally walks out on films without even bothering to see the end result, I'd say you have very little credibility in terms of critique.

Just sayin' :?

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Post by ShyViolet » January 17th, 2010, 10:59 pm

It was really beautiful! I really had no idea what to expect from it, but I wanted to give it a chance. I thought the designs and animation were both spectacular; the characters seemed really stiff to me in the ads but once they start to move and interact they feel so fluid and natural; the colors are also so warm and give the film a real "humanity", so to speak.

One of the reasons I was unsure about the film was that as much as I love The Royal Tenenbaums it seems like Wes Anderson likes to have his characters stand around and talk a lot and I wasn't sure how that would translate to an animated feature. But it ended up working brilliantly anyway; it didn't feel at all like a live-action feature made animated but a children's book come to life; as said before because of the essential humanity of the characters, the camerawork/design and the whimsical quality of the story.

Congrats to the director/animators for a making a great film! :)
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Post by Randall » January 17th, 2010, 11:08 pm

That's encouraging. I also found the commercials to be uninspiring, but I'll have to give it a chance.

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Post by Ben » January 18th, 2010, 7:52 am

Yep, as I said in my review, don't be put off by the way the characters look in stills and in commercials. They just don't work! But for some reason, when you're sucked into the movie, it all comes together, even the Wes-isms. It obviously doesn't work for everybody, given the other comments here, but no-one can say the film isn't unique.

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Post by American_dog_2008 » January 19th, 2010, 11:26 am

Saw Mr. Fox this weekend, and it was worth the wait!

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Re: "The Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Post by LotsoA113 » March 20th, 2010, 12:01 pm

Just pre-ordered my Blu-Ray copy of Fox. Can't wait to see how good it looks on my DLP TV.

Loved the movie...hopefully like the Blu-Ray.
I love all things cinema, from silent movies to world cinema to animated cinema to big blockbusters to documentaries and everything in between!

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