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(Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Film

Listen Up!...'Fantastic Mr Fox' is Wes Anderson's greatest film

@Russellisation

With punchy saturated colour and a polished symmetrical cinematic style, Wes Anderson pioneered a new kind of independent cinema when he landed on the scene in 1996, surprising audiences with two remarkably original films, Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, before the dawn of the new millennium. Since then, this same style has been brushed, refined and improved upon time and time again, with Anderson making eight films since the release of Rushmore in 1998, with none being quite as revolutionary for his career as Fantastic Mr. Fox.  

Known for his whimsical worlds of frenetic energy and eccentric wonder, Wes Anderson’s style has grown somewhat stale after so many years of refinement, with his 2009 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s iconic children’s novel representing a pioneering foray into stop-motion animation that forever freshened up his filmography. Discarding the ostentatious air that can often shroud his productions, Fantastic Mr. Fox boiled Anderson’s style down to a distinct look and feel that felt like the perfect representation of his own vibrant, sparky personality. 

“Stop-motion has a lot of texture in it…when it’s texture you sense you’re looking at miniatures. There’s something magical about that to me,” Anderson told Slate Magazine upon the release of the film, with enchanting magic coming through in the director’s delicately constructed world. Retaining the charm of the original novel that held its origins in Great Missenden, a village in Buckinghamshire, England, Anderson imbues a traditional sense of homemade joy into every aspect of the film, making it all seem endearingly cobbled together yet also carefully constructed.

From the textured outfits of the lead cast of countryside characters that seem rudimentarily sewn together to the film’s rousing soundtrack that squeaks, bangs, whistles and hums as if it was put together by a rustic folk band, Anderson orchestrates a well-oiled machine that elevates his artistic vision. 

Watch the fascinating puppet tests behind Wes Anderson film ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’

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Settling into an underground community of other fellow animals to evade the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, the subterranean world of charming characters including Mr. Fox (George Clooney), Badger (Bill Murray) and Rat (Willem Dafoe) is a vibrant playground that teems with life. As per usual, the likes of actors such as Murray, Dafoe, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman collaborate with Wes Anderson, though instead of their presence being drawn to with an arrogant wink, here their voice talents lend themselves to the story, simply becoming parts of the director’s grand vision rather than sparkly outliers. 

An eccentric, but also emotionally sensitive adventure, Anderson drops the ego and embraces a story that is quite simply, perfectly told, with the perfect ingredients to create one of the finest children’s films ever made. Whilst retaining the director’s signature comedy, eccentricity and smart delivery, Fantastic Mr. Fox adds a flourish of genuine heart that can often go amiss in many of the director’s other films that can instead feel like a mere showcase of success.

Smart, sophisticated and lovingly homemade, Wes Anderson’s tale perfectly captures the warm magic of the original Roald Dahl novel whilst adding the director’s own quirky garnish. With an original score from Alexandre Desplat along with several other carefully selected musical choices fueling the story onwards, Fantastic Mr. Fox demonstrates the true strength of Wes Anderson’s idiosyncratic filmmaking with animation providing the director with any and all the tools he needs to meticulously craft his own eclectic world.

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