1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A great film for big kids,
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This review is from: Fantastic Mr Fox [DVD]  (DVD)
I remember seeing the trailer for this and thinking 'oh no!'
The reservations I had were with the animation style, casting and tone of the film, as presented in the trailer (as I remember it). However, these disappeared quickly when I sat down to watch the film with some friends.
I am a fan of Wes Anderson's films, and believe the rhythm, tone and idiosyncratic writing that have become somewhat of a trademark for him are actually most effectively utilised and executed here, in a children's movie. Although, I'd argue it's not really a child's film, more so an indulgence of the child-like side of Anderson, his cast and the audience, should they wish their inner child to be so indulged.
As many reviewers have detailed, this film adaptation is not particularly faithful to the source material. True enough. The film takes Dahl's work as a starting point and then runs with Anderson's imagination. The Fox family dynamic is as wonderfully realised as that of the Tenenbaums, if not more so. The fact that the film is animated perhaps gave the director even greater license to be, well, silly. The same could be said for the film's sweetness at times and the absurd level of violence that normally only cartoons can display for younger audiences (don't worry parents, it's never gruesome).
Fantastic Mr Fox made me laugh, a really hearty and full laugh, and I enjoyed it immensely. Dahl's book likewise.
I ask: So what if the film devieates from the source material and does not bring to the screen a word for word, page by page retelling of the book? Adaptations, by their nature, must adapt the original material to suit the medium they are moving to. Furthermore, it is nigh on impossible to satisfy each and every fan of a book. We will all have our ideas of how the characters should sound, how they should move and so on to the minutae of characterization. So, can it ever be correct to discount out of hand the interpretation of another, and their subsequent adaptation? Obviously I'm not going to lie and say I'm fine and comfortable with every film adaptation of a book I've loved on this basis (see most film versions of Alan Moore's work), but I do think some Dahl fans, particularly the older ones, could do with giving this film a chance on it's own merits. Let the original book be what it is, a fantastic piece of children's literature. Then, let this film be what it is, a charming, funny, quirky, eccentric, inventive, colourful and altogether different children's(ish) film.