Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox ★★★★

Film #5 of the September 2015 Scavenger Hunt Challenge
Task #4: a subterranean film

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There are times when you're watching a film and you suddenly find yourself noticing the love, craft and care that has gone into creating it, which leads to a greater appreciation of the work itself. Rarely have I appreciated this as much as I did earlier today whilst watching 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox.

I'm yet to see all of director Wes Anderson's work, but from having seen and loved Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom and (the simply brilliant) Grand Budapest Hotel, I had long been excited to watch and see what he could do with a fully animated film. Pleasingly, Fantastic Mr. Fox was every bit as good a film as I expected it to be, and I found myself to be utterly charmed with everything about it.

Visually stunning, you can see Anderson's stamp on virtually ever scene. The colour palette is absolutely gorgeous, the composition of each setting is meticulously laid out and the attention to detail is incredibly admirable - these facets, along with a fantastically Anderson-esque score, make Fantastic Mr. Fox a real treat for the senses. The stop-animation style also complements the glorious backdrops we are privy to and offers far more charm than digital animation would have done. One can only be impressed with how Anderson is able to make his films feel so much like his, and whilst it might not be for everyone, his unique style makes this film all the more whimsical and fun.

The film also boasts a fantastic cast of voice actors, all of whom do a great job with their respective roles, whilst the characters themselves are as every bit as charming as their settings are. George Clooney's titular lead is the cheeky, if sometimes cocky protagonist we still find ourselves rooting for, but for me it was the supporting cast - including a rat security guard played by Willem Dafoe and Bill Murray as a badger who works as Mr. Fox's lawyer - that really helped bring the story to life. The narrative itself was nothing too adventurous but given the source material and the film's demographic, one cannot be too critical, especially when there is so much else on offer.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a beautifully crafted, funny and charming piece of work, and in an era where many of the better children's films seem to come predominantly from the likes of Pixar and Dreamworks, it truly is a breath of fresh air. I do hope Wes Anderson makes another animated film because this, his first effort, carried his signature style so well, but if he does end up doing one he'll have a bloody hard time improving on this.

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