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on 4 May 2011
Wes Anderson's adaptation of Roahl Dahl's book of the same name casts aside the CGI animation of Pixar for some old-school stop-motion animation. It tells the familiar story of the cheeky Mr. Fox (voiced with the usual charm of George Clooney) who leaves his days of stealing chickens behind him to marry Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) and settle down with their newly born son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman). After buying up some new property that is situated near the land of Boggis, Bunce and Bean, three farmers with a terrible reputation, Mr. Fox is tempted into his old ways. He plans the heist of the century (in fox terms) to hit each farm individually without getting a scratch, aided by his lovable-but- dumb friend Badger (Bill Murray), and eventually his visiting nephew and natural athlete Kristofferson (Eric Chase Anderson).

When the farmers discover what Mr. Fox is up to, Franklin Bean (Michael Gambon) unites the three and plans a revenge attack on Fox's burrow. Soon, Mr. Fox has to team up with his own gang of rather hopeless animals to escape the tractors that have begun digging up their home. They also have to face Bean's cider-loving, knife-wielding, finger- snapping bodyguard Rat (Willem Dafoe). Feeling guilty for the situation he has placed his family and friends into, Mr. Fox must come up with a plan to defeat the persistent farmers.

Anderson's sense of humour that has been so present in his previous films is in full flow here. Clooney can deliver a quirky line like no other actor working in cinema today and his time working with the Coen brothers have clearly paid off. Mr. Fox is selfish, cocky and obnoxious, but with Clooney behind the microphone he is a completely lovable character. The quirkiness is upped by the presence of Anderson regulars Murray and Schwartzman, whose personalities shine through the animation and give their clay characters an important human feel. Michael Gambon also has a field day voicing the sadistic and psychopathic Bean, who in his own way is absolutely hilarious.

Anderson's decision to go with stop-motion animation adds a nostalgic edge to the film. The book is clearly beloved to the director, and to many people who have read this or any of the number of children's classics by Roahl Dahl. I remember reading Matilda, James And The Giant Peach and The BFG as a child in school and being fascinated and enthralled, and Fantastic Mr. Fox brought those memories back. Of course, the film's sense of humour is not in tone with the book, but the overall feel and charm of the film really captures the spirit of Dahl's books. The opening heist has Mr. Fox ingeniously navigate his way through a farmyard in the style of Super Mario Brothers. It is super- charged, throwing reason and continuity out the window for the sake of having some immature fun, and it works.

Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson's two greatest films, were two of the best American comedies to come out in recent years, and Fantastic Mr. Fox adds something different and equally impressive to an already-impressive CV. It also cements his status as a director whose films you can always look forward to. The film's giddiness and unashamed childishness elevates the film, and it's nice to see a children's story adapted without the need for flashy effects or feeling the need to darken the tone. Highly recommended.

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on 25 August 2011
After going to watch this play with my son who really enjoyed it and sang along and booed and hissed I thought I would buy the dvd film for him.

Well what a mistake that was,lets just say he will not get to watch it,smoking,killing,bad language to say the least.

Why did they have to have an American and adults for the kids,it just does not work.

Talk about how to spoil a film,its on now as I am writng this review,and as soon as I have finished I am packing it up and sending it back.

If there was such a thing as -1 it would give it that.

Hope the audio book with Stephen Fry is better, Ok thats it,of to pack this rubbish film.
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on 2 August 2010
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.
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on 16 June 2012
In a similar manner to Spike Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are, Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox tries to adopt a mature style and multifaceted interpretation, over an ostensibly youthful and simplistic subject matter, whilst retaining a universal appeal; but where Jonze achieved much success on this front, Anderson succumbed to total failure. The irony is, that despite the many fine achievements of Where The Wild Things Are, it appears to have suffered far more greatly than the lamentable Fantastic Mr Fox.

For starters, Fantastic Mr Fox is entirely devoid of anything remotely nearing the quality one would expect from an adaptation of Roald Dahl. It's bereft of any of the charm, skill and enduring quality of the kind of brilliant stop motion work we are more used to seeing (in the work of Aardman for example). The characters are weird, but not in a 'it's good to be different, unique and a little strange' Matilda sort of way, but weird in a slightly disturbing and ultimately uninteresting way. It lacks appeal on any front; no humour, dull voice acting, a really unfitting soundtrack, plenty of action but no thrills as stuff just moves without consideration for timing, suspense or humour. It's almost as if someone has applied the formula of a typical Wes Anderson film and superimposed it onto what might have been an interesting children's film, and instead of producing the fun flare of magnesium in a Bunsen burner, we're left with an interminably dull introductory lecture on stolid solids.

Perhaps the films most crucial flaw is that it lacks an audience. Based on the work of a children's author of huge influence and broad appeal, it comes as a great surprise that I find little means through which a child could enjoy this film...other than perhaps a very young child who might find the colour palette enough of a distraction to account for a moments entertainment. That said, the tones in the film are very autumnal (though in the blandest possible sense) and come across rather morose and unimpressive instead of vibrant and lively. Unfortunately, this trait is transposed onto the characters, as you really feel you should be getting more from a stellar cast but ultimately feel as if they're being presented with a pay-check and you're footing the bill, as they waffle uninterestedly through their lines, removing any sympathy for the characters involved.

All these flaws combined, make for a film which even the most die hard of Wes Anderson fans should have trouble enjoying. Whilst I normally make time for the usual Wes Anderson fare, the characters are too typical of what have seemingly become tired re-imaginings of the same self absorbed, navel-gazing, solipsists of the form for which he appears to have typecast his own cinematic style; that of pseudo-intellectualism with suicidal tendencies, all accompanied by a sheen best represented by that often hideous and misused word...'quirky'. And strangely, all these features are bound within the apparent format of a children's film, for which there is very little content for children or a Wes Anderson fan to enjoy. He was certainly lacking guidance in his approach and would perhaps have benefited from the harsh glares of a schoolmaster to keep him in check or at least inspire a rebellious streak to add some excitement in his work.

Ultimately, this should have been more like the sterling stop motion work of Aubier & Patar in A Town Called Panic, of Aardman in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit or of Adam Elliot in Mary & Max. Sadly, it's closer to the usual and perhaps more adult style typical of Wes Anderson and this is probably its biggest flaw. Though I don't like to say it - mainly because of the painstaking amount of work which goes into such animations - I found nothing of interest in this film and I struggle to think of any appeal it may have for a younger audience as well. Wes Anderson must try harder if he's to convince the world that he can make an array of films that aren't simply imitations of his past work in a not so foxy or cunning disguise.
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on 12 March 2010
This is one of the worst films I have ever sat through. It is hugely disappointing given the source material and the animation is not to my eyes delightful but archaic.
The film may have attracted the voice talents of some major stars but I was left feeling that much more could have been achieved. I rented it - if I'd paid to own it I'd have been gutted!
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on 25 November 2010
I loved this book, I knew it by heart, it shaped my childhood....so I rushed out to buy this and I was SO disappointed. The amount of times Mr Fox or other characters say "what the cuss" or "oh my cuss" is just appalling. It's americanised for a start....and it is simply infuriating. I felt totally let down by this film, and didnt think it was a good reflection of the book in any way shape or form! The book is "naughty" in places with some of the rhymes, and I believe there is one swear word in it, which i sniggered at as a child...but in a vain attempt to keep the feel of the book, it's completely ruined by the use of Americanisms, and this overuse of the actual word "cuss" - there's nothing positive I can find about this film at all. I was so disappointed and thought as soon as I'd watched it that I'll never let my kids see it if they ever read the book.
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on 10 July 2015
Really quick delivery and good packaging but unfortunately ruined by a skip that occurs(pictured in the first picture) and cuts out an entire minute of the film (second picture taken immediately after the first) including a few others throuout the film, but these only miss out 5 or so seconds. I'd understand if the quality was okay but when i purchased it was described as very good
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on 18 December 2009
I absolutely love stop-animation films, and really love Roald Dahl books. So when I went to see Fantastic Mr Fox I was buzzing. Its not just that this film doesn't follow the plot of the original book that it gets a bad reviews - its more that it doesn't follow a plot at all.

I know Wes Anderson films are known for being quirky and off-the-wall, but I feel in this case he has subsituted any structure and made it so quirky that only he would understand the humour. The animation, if you compare it to Coraline or Peter and the Wolf, just seems terribly lazy and that they have cut alot of corners.

I did sigh with dread a bit when I heard Wes Anderson would be getting this film to direct, but I still thought the story was too solid to be ruined. At first Henry Selick was animation director I think and I when he left the project really suffered. Shame because this film should have been something really special, and what you get is a shallow, egotistical film which will ruin a treasured story for many.
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VINE VOICEon 18 August 2010

After narrowly escaping from a trap during a raid on a squab farm, Mr Fox (George Clooney) agrees to his pregnant wife's (Meryl Streep) demands to take up a less dangerous profession. Two years later and Mr Fox is now a newspaper columnist and the two have raised a teenage son called Ash (Jason Schwartzman). The Foxes make the decision to relocate to a better home. Against the advice of his lawyer, Clive Badger (Bill Murray), Mr Fox chooses a den situated at the base of a huge tree. From Badger, Mr Fox learns of that the land near his hole is occupied by the three farms of three notoriously wicked and wealthy farmers - the gluttonous chicken farmer Walter Boggis (Robin Hurlstone), the diminutive duck farmer Nathan Bunce (Hugo Guinness), and the skinny turkey farmer and cider brewer Franklin Bean (Michael Gambon). Hated and feared by the locals, they are all part of the attraction for the high risk-taking Mr Fox who decides to steal from them one by one. All goes to plan at the beginning, until the three farmers decide to declare war on Mr Fox and his family...


I hold my hand up to being a fan of stop-motion animation and yet not the greatest convert to the products of Aardman Animations. With this in mind, I looked forward to Fantastic Mr Fox being made by a production other than aforementioned creators of Wallace and Gromit. This fact may have sweetened me to the fact that an American production company, 20th Century Fox, were tackling what was essentially a British children's book and one that was hugely influential over my childhood. I was brought up a Roald Dahl fan and "Fantastic Mr Fox" was favourite personal favourite of his children's works. It had everything a child can enjoy in a fantasy-based story - witty animals, grisly villains and an innocent countryside setting. Unfortunately the charm and, dare I say, magic of the book does not transfer happily to Hollywood.

Enough has already been said in other reviews with the blatant cloning of Clooney's role in the "Ocean's Eleven" re-make franchise and grafting it onto Mr Fox. It's not a subtle observation; it is cynical playing to the US market, as are the other new elements added to the story. Rather than having a witty fox taking advantage of his surroundings, we now have an ambitious adrenaline junkie with the stereotypical grounding wife who tries making him acknowledge his responsibilities to his family. He also has a typical sullen teenage son in a totally unoriginal and irritating sub-plot, who finds himself being overshadowed by his cousin, Kristofferson (Eric Chase Anderson), who comes to stay with the family. The evolution of their relationship is pretty predictable.

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach are fans of Dahl's. That much is believable. Sadly they don't seem to trust the source material enough and felt a need to bookend the original storyline with totally new material. Despite needlessly "updating" many of the elements of the story (read shoehorning in extra plot angles, characters and situations), the soundtrack of the film seems to be a pointless and out of place '60s rock 'n roll "homage" to the era in which Dahl wrote the original novel.

To make matters worse, this film is coated with a type of superficial sophistication aimed to make upper middleclass parents feel clever. It is this style that I think enamoured this film to the early critics. This is never better demonstrated in the contrived style of animation used by Henry Selick. Now Selick is certainly an animator worth looking out for. He has been behind several of my own favourite animated films and should be acknowledged at least much as Tim Burton for "The Nightmare Before Christmas". Going by his history, I am not a fan of collaborations with Anderson. "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" was a pretentious and thoroughly annoying piece of pseudo-art, which fell off the line of "off beat comedy" and into the realm of "thinks its clever when it isn't". In this respect, "Fantastic Mr Fox" is certainly a marked improvement.

This is not to say the film isn't completely irredeemable, although I am not surprised it didn't do well at the box office. Wilhelm Defoe's ridiculously large rat character, for example, adds a degree of confrontation and some extra peril that compliments Dahl's original story. It is not needed and very Hollywood in line with the faults I have outlined, but the scenes are well shot and Defoe is well cast in the role.
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on 17 July 2010
I am an avid fan of interesting and innovative animation, and when I heard there was to be a Fantastic Mr. Fox film made using stop motion I couldn't help but be excited. After seeing the trailers, however, my heart sank. The story seemed so different, it was so americanized and the animation seemed poor rather than deliberately juvenile. It was with trepidation that I watched this film, and in some ways my fears were realized.
As you probably have read, the story is quite different from the book. Like many people I grew up with Fantastic Mr Fox and it was my absolute favourite Dahl story. The bones of the story are there, but Anderson has placed his own stamp on it - in places the script seems more like an analysis of the modern american family rather than a Dahl adaptation. While this is, at times, fascinating and works well (the relationship between Ash and Kristofferson particularly) I feel that it conflicts too much with the original material. While I am a strong believer in keeping film adaptations seperate to the original books (for example, Howl's Moving Castle and How To Train Your Dragon are great films in their own right) in cases where the new story is worse than the old or over complicated, I find it impossible not to make comparisons and complain. There was plenty in the original book that would entertain onscreen and while the Dahl family approve, in my opinion there was no need to change it other than to satisfy Anderson. It is enjoyable, yes, in places great - but it could have been so much better. It could have been fantastic.
I thought that the fact that the main characters were american would annoy me a lot more than it did - what annoyed me more that the heroes were american while the villains were english. Hmm. In terms of where it is set, I don't believe Dahl specifies: much like Willy Wonka, it is left unspecific so children of any nationality can feel like it is their story, set in their town. However, in some places FMF goes so very american it is jarring - banjo scene anyone? - and I am so fed up with the american hero vs english baddie scenario. It may not be intentional but some times it is just offensive, regardless of how many times people say brits are better at playing baddies.
What I was pleasantly suprised about was the animation. At first the movements are rather jarring, and the postures of the animals are very strange - I'm not quite sure that the way they stand and walk quite work, they all look a bit too human. The way they smile as well (Mr Fox's nervous smiles come to mind) are also scary rather than humorous. However, it is unique, and like all Anderson films, very quirky. The way the fur moves is particularly lovely, and it makes a change to see something blatantly hand made on the big screen rather than well rounded and smooth (like new Wallace and Gromit films compared to old ones - they were much more interesting with the visible fingerprints!)
In conclusion, it is worth a look. You will almost certainly be entertained, more than likely wishing it was more like the book, but hopefully inspired.
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