Directed by Wes Anderson
Voices by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Wally Wolodarsky, Bill Murray
“God has given you one face and you make yourself another”
Based on the beloved children’s book of the same name (1970) by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda), Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic) explores new territory by telling the story utilizing stop motion animation. I loved this film when I saw it in the theater, would I love it as much the second time around on Blu-Ray?
Mr. Fox (George Clooney) is sharp witted, charming and just about the best squab thief in his woodland community. One day while he and Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) are raiding a local farm, they are caught in a trap, just as Mrs. Fox reveals she is pregnant. Mr. Fox knows what this means: it is time to settle down.
Flash forward: we now join Mr. and Mrs Fox and their son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) in their family home. Mr. Fox is a respected local newspaper columnist and the family is looking forward to moving into their new home (in a tree) in a new exciting neighborhood: a neighborhood that just so happens to overlook three of the country’s largest farms.
With his new friend and handyman Kylie (Wally Wolodarsky) at his side, Mr. Fox, no longer able to deny his inherent nature as a fox, begins to hatch a plan to rob each of the farmers and get back in touch with his “primal” side, a side that just can’t be satisfied by sitting at a typewriter making his deadlines.
But, his actions set of a chain of events that threaten the lives of not only his family, but his fellow woodland creatures. Mr. Fox is going to have to prove that “clever as a fox” is not just a figure of speech.
I am a big fan of Anderson’s films that could best be described as unconventional and this film is no different, this one just happens to have little furry foxes and other critters in the main parts.
And, I loved every minute of this enigmatic, affecting and wry film.
The voice work by all, in particular George Clooney, is absolutely tone perfect. I have always wanted to see Clooney in an Anderson film, figuring he would have the right quirky approach to the director’s unique style: I was right.
Jason Schwartzman, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray are, as expected, wonderful in their performances.
I also found Eric Chase Anderson’s (brother of Wes Anderson) performance as Mr. Fox’s nephew Kristofferson Silverfox wonderfully peculiar.
The character/puppet designs were done by the British puppet makers Mackinnon and Saunders who have done work on The Corpse Bride and Pingu, among many other projects. The look of the fox family and all the other woodland creatures is absolutely eye popping and equal to another great British company’s work Aardman Animation. They are a name to watch.
The stop motion is absolutely dazzling and the “Wes Anderson” feel is on display in every frame. Do yourself a favor: experience this one of a kind film now.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is presented in a anamorphic AVC/1080p transfer. This is high definition lavishness with the most impressive level of detail and eye-popping color. The black levels are highly respectable and I did not notice an instance for grain or artifacts. This is a first rate transfer and the wonderful stop motion animation and character design deserves nothing less.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. The dialogue is crystal clear and well mixed with the musical score. This is a masterful presentation that compliments the fine transfer of the film well.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Fantastic Mr. Fox is presented in a blu ray amaray case with cute picture of Mr. Fox and company on the cover.
There are a few bonus features to peruse on this release. Making of Mr. Fox Fantastic is a great behind the scenes look at the amount of work it took to bring this film to completion. It is offered in chapters which you can watch all at once or just visit a section at a time.
Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl is a great look at Gipsy House (The Dahl family residence) and the care that was given to the careful translation of the original beloved book.
A Beginners Guide to Whack Bat is a “training” film that teaches the intricacies of this interesting game that is played by several characters in the film.
Also offered is a regular DVD copy of the film, a digital copy and a theatrical trailer.
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10
The Movie 10/10
The Video 10/10
The Audio 9/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (not an average) 9/10