Directed by: Wes Anderson Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: PG Due Out: March 23, 2010
PLOT: After learning he's going to be a father, Mr. Fox (Clooney) leaves his chicken stealing ways for his family. Years later, Mr. Fox decides to go for one last heist on the sly. But when the local farmers start reacting, all the animals become involved whether they like it or not.
WHO'S IT FOR? Kids and adults. You'll like if you like Wes Anderson films, you'll like if it you like Roald Dahl's books, and you'll probably like it if you have a pulse.
Last year was a great year for animation, any other year Fantastic Mr. Fox would be the best animated film of the year, if not the best altogether. The cast is great, both the famous actors as well as the lesser known voices like Wally Wolodarsky who voices the often confused Kylie. The farmers, Boggiss, Bunce and Bean make great villains. My favorite is Michael Gambon as Boggis, who brings the same dark menace he brought to his characters in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Layer Cake. Alternately funny and serious, and consistently enjoyable this is a great movie. It has everything I love from Anderson: British Invasion music, quirky characters and elaborately stylized set design. But it's still a fun animated film that will appeal to Anderson neophytes.
MOVIE SCORE: 9/10
Making Mr. Fox Fantastic: A series of short behind-the-scenes films including The Look of Fantastic Mr. Fox, From Script to Screen, The Puppet Makers, Still Life (Puppet Animation), The Cast and Bill and his Badger. The whole series was really fascinating. There's something about these characters as dolls that feels very empty and sad. But the sets look amazing. I just wanted to touch everything. I also liked seeing Roald Dahl's widow discuss the real life aspects of her and Dahl's life that Anderson borrowed for the film. This included photographing nearly every object in her house to replicate for the film. Watching the actors, including George Clooney, act out their parts as they voice them is wonderful to see and looks super fun. Watching Clooney eat like Mr. Fox is awesome. Someone needs to put Clooney and Bill Murray in a live action movie together. I need more.
A Beginner's Guide to Whack-Bat: Made in the style of an old educational film strip, this one minute piece combines footage from the film with an overview of the fictional game that sounds just as confusing as it did in the movie.
Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl A three-minute long clip that seems more like publicity for the film than anything else. The best information is already included in the Making Mr. Fox Fantastic films.
Fantastic Mr. Fox Theatrical Trailer
EXTRAS SCORE: 7/10
The movie is great and looks beautiful on Blu-ray. This set is pretty sweet with the DVD and Digital copy as well as the Blu-ray. I would say this is a must buy, with the caveat that every film that Anderson has done has eventually come out in a Criterion edition. I wouldn't be surprised if a few months from now they announce the release of one. Still, if you want a copy for the family, and you just can't wait, it's worth buying. I'm just hoping for more extras in the future. I want a commentary. Anderson is one of the few directors who make commentary a must. Otherwise, it's fantastic.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10