Wes Anderson and I have had a, how shall I say, turbulent relationship. Just when I started caring about movies I found Bottle Rocket. It was insane, funny, quirky, and heartfelt - all the things I loved about movies in the SAME MOVIE!!! My teenage brain couldn't handle all of the cinematic goodness. Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums left me just as enraptured. But when The Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited came out, I started realizing I was seeing the same story over and over and over again. Familial angst, an outcast trying to work his way back into family graces, redemption and a killer soundtrack were starting to be the formula from which Anderson built his quirky cinematic experiences.
Is The Fantastic Mr. Fox any different? Honestly, not by much. So why should you see this movie, then? Well, just like all of Anderson's other movies, the visual beauty and attention to detail will leave you wishing the movie were days longer.
In a world where CGI is the go-to for animated movies, the art of stop-animation has gone the way of typewriters...only eccentrics feel the need to hammer out their work in a slow, meticulous and difficult method. But therein lies the worth and inherent loveliness of these antiquated methods. The personality given to objects still touched and molded by human hands is unrepeatable by computers or machines. This is why Mr. Fox and his compatriots look so real in the world created by Anderson and his animators.
These animals have personalities all their own, many in line with their taxonomic rank (the nerd in me is swooning as I type that). They also have ridiculous senses of humor, nervous tics, and endearing flaws. The existential question that is inherent in every Wes Anderson flick is battled by Mr. Fox, but the way he goes toe-to-toe with his conundrum is honest and believable for a talking fox that writes for the local newspaper.
This movie could have been a preachy sermon about conserving our resources or the damage done by corporations to local markets, but instead we are made aware of these issues without being bludgeoned by them. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is a fairytale for adults and kids, where the element of human flaws is celebrated and showcased with stop-motion forest animals.
Stop what you are doing and see this right now.