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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW
The Fantastic Mr. Fox

A Wily Fox And Friends


Mr. Fox (voiced by George clooney) leads the way in "The Fantastic Mr. Fox", expanding its release today in the U.S. and Canada.
Fox Searchlight

By Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fox and Friends?  Not an allusion to the much-talked about conservative American cable television network but an apt and succinct description of Wes Anderson's terrifically entertaining Fox Searchlight release "The Fantastic Mr. Fox", one of the director's best films.  Over the years I've finally grasped the idea that the makers of animated movies make them first and foremost for themselves and secondly for children, meaning that in many cases kids end up liking them far less than adults do.  This is certainly the case with films like "Up" and "Coraline", the latter of which scared the living daylights out of many kids (and a few adults.)

In "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" the fantastic Mr. Anderson (who also voices the character of the Weasel) doesn't scare anyone away with his crisp, sunny stop-motion animation feature adaptation of celebrated British author Roald Dahl's book about a fox mired in mediocrity and poverty who plots to steal from the greedy humans not far away from the den where they reside.  The plan is easier than both its execution and the understanding that Mr. Fox (slyly and humorously voiced by George Clooney) has other problems of his own, including a petulant son (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) who doubts his self-worth and is trying to prove that he's good enough for his stalwart father.

Despite the fact that over 56,000 shots were utilized for it, there's a gaiety and near-effortless flow to "Fantastic" that has the viewer floating on clouds.  The animation and vivid colors are a treat to watch (photgraphed by Tristan Oliver who also voices here) when in another film they might have been a complete distraction (and disaster.)  Mr. Anderson, who has directed notable films ("The Royal Tenenbaums") positively imbues this latest effort with his trademark irreverent, quirky filmmaking style, merging his sensibilities with Mr. Dahl's classic literature, and it's a perfect match.

The actors (including Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox and Anderson regular Bill Murray as the Badger) are nimble and sharp with their lines as scripted by the director and Noah Baumbach, and the marriage of acting and animation has rarely been better.  There are some memorable characters here, and both kids and adults alike will have endless fun and enjoyment with this affectionate crowd-pleaser.  Always lively and funny, with a golden haze reminiscent of the 1970s, there's a feeling that for every karate chop, exuberant exultation, gymnastic gyration and dance of freedom that either Danny Terrio or The Partridge Family are about to spring from around the corner.  This is a triumph of filmmaking of which Mr. Dahl would have highly approved.

With the additional voices of: Wallace Wolodarsky, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Eroc Chase Anderson, Owen Wilson, Roman Coppola, Adrian Brody, Allison Abbate, Molly Cooper, Helen McCrory and Karen Duffy.

"The Fantastic Mr. Fox" is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association Of America for action, smoking and slang humor.  The film's running time is one hour and 27 minutes. 

Read more movie reviews and stories from Omar here.

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