As a fan of Wes Anderson, I like to keep up with news regarding what his upcoming projects are, so the moment I heard he was doing a project to bring Fantastic Mr Fox from the pages of the children’s book onto the screen, I was intrigued.  I’d never seen Wes Anderson do an animated film before, so that was another aspect which had me curious.

The first thing I did was go to the library so I could read the book.

I was expecting to take a few nights and read a few chapters, but I was surprised with how short the book was, and with how quickly I finished it.  I probably didn’t even need to check it out from the library, I could’ve read it on premises.

Having read the book, I wasn’t too concerned with how it might translate to the screen – had it been made by Pixar, it would’ve been enjoyable enough.  My concern was in regards to the fact that the project was in the hands of the guy who is the writer / director behind some of my favorite movies.  I hadn’t enjoyed his last two movies (Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited) as much as his earlier work, and I wondered how this children’s book would fit into the rest of Anderson’s body of work.

Having now seen it, this was definitely a Wes Anderson flick, and I enjoyed it more than the previously mentioned last two offerings.

I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen a movie in which George Clooney does a voice-over for an animated character, but this might’ve been the perfect role for him to dive into, as Mr Fox seems like a mix of various characters he’s done in the past (though which roles those would be, I’m having trouble putting my finger on – probably Danny Ocean from “Ocean’s 11″… possibly “Burn After Reading” or “Oh Brother…”, but definitely not ER).

I could talk about Meryl Streep’s performance as Mrs. Fox, but all I need to really say is that she does as good a job as you would expect from her in an animated film.  Not one of her top roles ever, but that would be tough to do with only voice-over.

Bill Murray was funny as Badger. Jason Schwartzman really draws empathy to his character of Ash.  Michael Gambon brings his signature deep, threatening tone to the character of Franklin Bean quite nicely, and Willem Dafoe does such a good job with Rat that I didn’t realize it was him until the credits.

Eric Anderson – the brother of Wes Anderson – was pretty good in his small role as Kristoff, nephew of Mr Fox.

If you like Wes Anderson movies, you’ll probably like this movie.  Camera shots / angles, presentation and character depth will all be familiar to you.  You might not love the movie, but it’ll give you a “fix” until the next time Anderson brings something to theaters.  You won’t regret watching this movie.

If you’ve never seen a Wes Anderson movie or have been luke-warm to his films in the past, you’ll probably still enjoy this movie, especially if you have kids.  I don’t know what sort of age restriction I would place on this movie.  I don’t think there are really elements that would scare really little kids, and I don’t think there’d be an age at which it would be “uncool” to watch it – as there would be for “Up” (heaven forbid a 14-17 year-old kid watch “Up” with their parents…).

Buy the Fantastic Mr Fox Soundtrack at!

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