Note from the Editor: Straight from London, comes one our latest addition to the team Ben McCarthy with his first response to Fantastic Mr. Fox at The London Film Festival. At the festival I had some issues making the film because, well, London traffic rivals the best in the world. Luckily, I met Ben who I thought had a rather interesting opiniong of the film. Check out his thoughts below…
You know you’re watching a Wes Anderson film when you see a dysfunctional families, quirky characters, and 70′s style clothing, look at The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited and now his adaption of Roald Dahl’s book, Fantastic Mr Fox. The film tells the story of Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) trying to out wit 3 farmers named Bean, Boggis and Bunce to gain more food for his family. I was nervous about the film after watching the trailers, but Anderson has pulled it off and I was deeply impressed with the look of the film.
The set, costumes and creatures are fantastic, you really do get caught up in their environment. The amount of detail, that they incorporate into the creatures is wonderful, especially The Foxes themselves (I kept on thinking back to a character called “Sully” in Monsters Inc). The film is in tune with the book’s time, all the sets and costumes are made to look like they where from the 1970′s and with a soundtrack featuring Rolling Stones you’ll feel like you’ve been transported.
The voice casting was perfect, George Clooney oozes with charm in the role of the daring Mr Fox, sly and witty. With Clooney’s clever voice, you feel as if Mr. Fox can get away with anything. Meryl Streep provides the emotional center of the film as Mrs. Fox, with her soothing voice and Bill Murray as the Badger is of course wonderful at comic relief. But to me, the real star of the film was Jason Schwartzman work as Ash, Mr Fox’s son, trying to seek approval of his dad. It may not be the most original character in the world, but your sympathies are always with him and you desperately want him to succeed.
There are problems with the film, it feels stretched at 87 minutes. It doesn’t help that the writers, Anderson himself, and his writing partner Noah Baumbach, decided to fill the film’s stretching points with chases between Mr Fox and the dogs. It feels as if the writers had to make changes for its American audience, so they just put a collection of chase scenes in to liven up the film, which towards the end becomes a little bit relentless and slightly tedious for the audience. The film also, somewhat runs out jokes towards the end of the film, which is disappointing because the film starts brilliantly. Which then leaves me to my last critique, and that is I have forgotten most of the film already. I saw the film on Wednesday morning, and by the afternoon, I found it quite hard to remember the chase scenes and even the jokes of the film.
Overall, this is a Wes Anderson film in its truest form. Full of quirky characters, smart jokes and a great soundtrack, but it is ultimately let down by its own narrative and the story running out of ideas.
Check back for news from the Fantastic Mr. Fox press conference!
Our full review will be on it’s way with the films release on November 13th!