Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. ★★★★★

‘That was pure wild animal craziness!’

NEIGHBOURHOOD NOISE takes you back to 2010 in our version of #tbt….although we didn’t watch this film on a thursday, and although it is far from a new release, neighbourhood noise are recalling films that have changed the industry for better or for worse. We start with Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’.

With the London Film Festival looming, I see it as apt to look back to the film that opened the 53rd London Film Festival all those years ago. Fantastic Mr. Fox was a bold entry into the stop-motion animation world by Wes Anderson. Stop-motion films do notoriously average at the box office, are infamously difficult and stressful to create and generally take the worst and most laborious elements of live and stop-motion in order to produce a film. However, the end product is the apotheosis of pure art rendering the previous concerns as somewhat irrelevant. Fantastic Mr. Fox beautifully used stop-motion to pay homage to a timely classic.

Like the book, this is a film that can be easily enjoyed over and over again. Anderson’s precise yet humorously quirky take on the novel creates an Ocean’s Eleven coolness about it (abetted by George Clooney who voices the insecure yet arrogant fox). The familiar Anderson cast all play a role in this film from Owen Wilson as an apathetic sports coach, to Bill Murray..as a badger, enabling Anderson to have a stamp of ownership over his adaptation through his casting choice. Furthermore, much a tune to a recent jaguar ad, all of the villains in this film are British, aesthetically displeasing characters; all of the heroes are american; and then there is a safa…who must have been cast for some reason. The more times you watch the film, the more the accents become a prominent part, causing the audience to question Anderson’s motives. Not only that, but the soundtrack, containing a substantial amount of ‘The Beach Boys’, adds to an altogether brilliant portrayal of a childhood classic with multiple, timeless themes intertwined throughout the film.

With movies such as the The Boxtrolls being released this month, stop-motion animation appears to have become more and more popular, but the stresses of this film making technique are not sugar coated. It is hard, it is stressful, and it is not very financially rewarding. At the end of the day, however, stop-motion animation creates an enduring beauty that is the epitome of art-in-motion as seen with Fantastic Mr. Fox. That achievement of enduring beauty is what film is all about.

1st watch 7/10

2nd watch 8/10 (ages like a fine wine)

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