April 5, 2010

#071: Fantastic Mr. Fox 8/10

Filled with all kinds of quirk, this stylized stop-motion animation film packs in a lot of charm.  It has the unmistakable Wes Anderson vibe, yet it is still a lot of fun to watch.  Fantastic Mr. Fox received a lot of critical praise, which left me wary going in. Now that I have seen it I can say that this film really does work well from beginning to end. I would give it a solid 8 out of 10.

Most people would not hesitate to crown UP the award for best animated film of last year.  I really enjoyed UP, but in my opinion Fantastic Mr. Fox edges it out.  UP has some really great moments, but Fantastic Mr. Fox worked better from beginning to end.
I am a fan of Wes Anderson and the style and tone of his films.  He is able to bring that same sentiment to Mr. Fox without bogging in down.  It never felt like a kids movie to me.  In fact, I am not sure that children under the age of 8 would even enjoy the film.  It required a bit of maturity to appreciate.  At times the subject matter and dialog didn't seem to geared towards young children. A 10 year old probably would enjoy it much more.  I am a 27 year old kid and I found myself smiling through most of the film.  It just felt good.

A lot of the quirk and style of this film is derived from the stop-motion animation.  The look and movement of the animation is amazing.  It gives the film so much character.  It was all done with puppets.  I read that a full days work moving and shooting the puppets might only result in 30 seconds of film time.  It was definitely a labor of love, and you could tell. It resulted in a feeling of instant nostalgia with this film.  I didn't expect to be that impressed by the stop-motion, but it was great to watch.

If you like Wes Anderson at all I would encourage you to watch this film.  If you enjoy animated films, this one is worth watching  for the visuals.  If you just like an entertaining story you should watch this film.  It definitely isn't your normal "talking woodland creatures" animated film.  It offers a lot more than that.  The voice acting is great and the quirk keeps it interesting.  I would not hesitate to recommend Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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