Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009) - Movie Review

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is just another predictable kid’s film with lessons to be learned and heroes to be hailed. Its titular character Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) is a retired thief of birds. He will mess with the meanest farmers nearby and thus endangering not alone his family but his entire underground clan of badgers, rabbits and well, foxes. The whole nine yards are covered and swooped along with emotional completion for the kids and adults per se. But none of it are the main theme and it is Wes Anderson relishing the chance to shape this stop-motion animated film with his trademark approach of back ground score and having that poetic dry sensibility to get those dialogues from the right characters at the most unpredictable scenario. This is kid’s movie of a different kind.

Wes Anderson as the best of the abilities of any unique director believes in his style more than anything. His previous films regardless of how horrendously panned by critics and how out of sync it would play, had something every artist aspires to be even at the mountain of fame and wealth hold, artistic integrity. This does not mean that Anderson shies away from the improvements and embracements of new techniques and subjects. Starting from “Bottle Rocket” which never won my heart but gained the respect tells about two characters in their element captured by the style of observant director. Followed by another not so appealing but an inventive “Rushmore”, he finally struck the chord with “The Royal Tennenbaums” and he did good. There was already becoming a stamp of his work as that of Paul Thomas Anderson or Quentin Tarantino. With “The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou” and a thoroughly impressive and emotional “The Darjeeling Limited”, Anderson now steps into a territory and a leap into the world of animation.

The works of him has never really used profanity as an excuse to inject quirkiness but presented with a simple obviousness from the characters. In his films, cuss words are used as subtle punctuation rather than an insecure attention seekers. And in a film based on children’s book and tricking the MPAA for a PG rating, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” does a bleep of the curse words with a right substitute - the word itself, “cuss”. For kids it becomes a funny word while the adults know what Anderson is giggling about his success.

What the voices of the wonderful actors does to this beautiful creative animation is nothing much to say than the picture itself. Martin Scorsese identified the director as one to be watched for when “Bottle Rocket” came out. Coming from a legend like that, he definitely should have seen the virtuoso the man beginning to build up. In Anderson’s films the people in them are unapologetic but insecure to great deal. It condenses the human condition but it is given without an ounce of presumptuousness or sappiness. There is a truth in their emotion. Whether it would be the sheer adamance and arrogance of Steve Zissou in “The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou” or the lost sons in the “The Darjeeling Limited”, they are a walking joke but they are also real in representing the human psychology.

Here it is a family man, Mr. Fox. Breaking the promise to his wife Felicity (voice of Meryl Streep) to never get into thieving, his mid life crisis puts him to get back in the game. He assembles a curious but slow Kylie (Wally Wolodarsky) into stealing three unique products of three unpleasant farmers of the region. Mr. Fox wants to be awesome (who does not wants to be). His closed hole and few readers of the newspaper he writes does not fulfill his desire. Felicity wants a family and have a regular life with a dissatisfied and untalented kid Ash (voice of Jason Schwartzman). An arrival of an athletic and skillful nephew of Felicity, Kristofferson (voice of Eric Chase Anderson) feeds the rivalry with Ash and whole lot of family mix, all coming from the natural mind Anderson.

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” performs its three act with specific landmarks to advise us and even Felicity mentions how predictable this betrayal of Mr. Fox is. But what is next? The fight back and survival of him is not a surprise but the weaving of the writing and the timing of those provides spectacular fun. Bringing modern day references and the authentic dry comedy, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is one of the top contender of best films for this year.


kari_the_sin said...

enna saar !! enga thala maravu aittinga?
gaja eppadi irrukaru?
apparm how is life in peoria?

hope to be in touch.
my mail

john wall said...

Obviously ranking movies is extremely subjective, but I found Shawshank to be one of the most uplifting and well-written movies I have ever watched.