Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox

A work from one of Britain’s most loved authors finds itself in the hands of American indie auteur Wes Anderson, best known for his arch and perfectionist takes on eccentric schemers and fractured family dynamics. Couldn’t be a better match, really, for this wry and charming animated flick about a self-absorbed fox with self-esteem issues and a misunderstood son.

This autumn-hued family film will be appreciated as much by adults as their offspring. Voiced by masters of dead-pan (George Clooney, Jason Schwartman, Bill Murray, among others), the humour is gently understated and occasionally loopy.

It’s Anderson’s personal touches that make all the difference. His attention to detail is extraordinary and a strict insistence on keeping the old-school stop-motion techniques means that clouds of smoke are made of cotton wool and water is merely cellophane. You can even see the fur bristling on the animals’ faces thanks to the animators’ fingers.

As per usual, Anderson peppers the soundtrack with classic pop songs, including The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones. Brit rocker Jarvis Cocker even makes an appearance, as a songwriter called Petey.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a film that will grow on you after viewing. Containing everything from mundane minutiae to sublime epiphany (the Zissou-type moment with the wolf at the end), it’s a film where tender care and the joy of creation shows in every frame. Literally.