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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > LIterature > Action > Politics > Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009/20th Century Fox Blu-ray w/DVD & Digital Copy)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009/20th Century Fox Blu-ray w/DVD & Digital Copy)

 

Picture: A-/B†††† Sound: B+/B-†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B

 

 

As a long time fan of Wes Andersonís films, as well as a long time fan of Roald Dahlís novels; I was beaming with excitement to view Fantastic Mr. Fox.Now I had read Fantastic Mr. Fox about 15years ago, so my memory is foggy on the specifics, but Wes Andersonís vision is nothing like I imagined.The basic frame work is there and he follows the tale of the novel, but Andersonís distinct style (as seen in all his films) transformed the story of Fantastic Mr. Fox into a completely different adventure.

 

Wes Andersonís dry humor overflows in this quaint and classic tale of a fox with big dreams.Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) has given up the life of big adventure to raise a family, but big dreams die hard.Mr. Fox tires of living life in a hole and decides to purchase a big house in a tree; a tree that just so happens to overlook the three farms that he used to frequently bandit.Mr. Fox gets the idea in his head (against the wishes of his wife) to go on one ďlastĒ heist.The farms he intends to raid are owned by three notoriously unfriendly men named Boggis (the fat one), Bunce (the small one) and Bean (the mean one).He is soon on a mission to steal the specialty foods each farmer makes, but it wonít be an easy task and in fact Mr. Fox loses his tail in the process.Once the farmers find out what Fox is up to they will stop at nothing (and I mean nothing) to end him.The film is a story of a small Fox with big dreams, against three large men with even bigger guns.The tale is inspiring and concurrently fantastically fun.

 

As previously mentioned Fantastic Mr. Fox undeniably possesses the Wes Anderson flare; with the typical cast, incredible music choices and stylized filming techniques.I will call it a 50/50 split in terms of classic Roald Dahl mixed with classic Wes Anderson.The Dahl elements are in place as the story is heart warming and memorable, but the slick styling of Anderson twists the tale into something else.I would have to say this is not my favorite Wes Anderson venture, but it is not the worst either.He brings a wonderful mix of both archetypal and modern elements to the table that blend into a very refined story.The voice cast of Clooney, Streep, Schwartzman, Murray and Wilson bring the characters to life.Clooney embraces his crazy, yet charming side while Streep goes for the cool, yet demanding demeanor; the cast complimenting each other wonderfully.

 

The last element (which is the meat and potatoes of the film) is the filmís sleek and creative visual style.You can see every hair of the animalsí fur as the stop motion animation is not like anything I have ever seen.Granted a blend of techniques were utilized to bring the film to life, the end product is so jaw dropping it is understandable why the film took so long to complete.Not only did Anderson utilize unique techniques for the animation, but he also was quite open how he enjoyed using a variety of spaces such as attics, forests and tunnels to record the actorsí voice parts.Whatever he did it came out amazing and I am certain future filmmakers will look to Fantastic Mr. Fox for all kinds of inspiration.

 

The technical features as briefly mentioned above are astonishingly well done.The picture is wonderful 1080p presentation that explodes with vivid colors and fine details/textures.Every wrinkle, hair and clothing fiber is easily visualized and truly brings the film to life.The lighting is perfect with zero light/dark issues and shadows bounce off the floors and walls to give a solid realistic feel.It is an admirable presentation for sure.The sound is a powerful 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that delivers crisp/clean dialogue, coupled with a booming soundtrack.The directionality impresses as in pans across the soundscape with ease, delivering an immersive audio experience.

 

The DVD in this set is merely a downgrade of the Blu-ray and in no way, shape or form showcases Andersonís painstaking attention to detail as well as the Blu-ray.The DVD I am sure is here to secure a larger audience who will eventually upgrade to Blu-ray, but I have to say Blu-ray is the only way to go.

 

The extra features include a 45minute Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox featurette that is very detailed as it is composed of 6 elements that break the film down into its essential pieces; including the look, the script, cast, puppets, animation and a wonderful one-on-one with Bill Murray.Other features include Beginners Guide to Wack-Bat, which is a 1-minute waste of time; Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl, which is an insanely short talk with Anderson and Dahlís widow; and finally a few Trailers.

 

I donít know if Fantastic Mr. Fox turned out the way I imagined as a child, but I loved it none the less.I think I could watch the film again and again with ease, because the elements that were too quirky the first time, become enticingly revealing in round two.Bravo again to Wes Anderson for thinking outside the boxÖor inside this case outside the fox.

 

 

-†† Michael P. Dougherty II


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