Monday, November 16, 2009

Thoughts on the film: The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Saturday night at a gathering a friend of mine said, "Hey let's all go see Fantastic Mr Fox tomorrow!"

Of course I was down. I still have my well worn copy of the old book I used to read obsessively when I was a child, I read and loved the screenplay, and there is pretty much nothing Wes Anderson can do that I won't love him for. The man makes perfect little films that I just adore. A. Dore.

So of course I went to see Fantastic Mr. Fox. And this review is most likely biased because I was sort of predisposed to enjoying it.

So friend texts me that we'll all see it at the Arclight at 4:50. As many of you know, the Arclight is assigned seating, so normal protocol calls for the group to meet there a little before the movie, buy your tickets together, then go right in. This time, however, my friend texted that they had already bought their tickets online. So I had to go online, become a member of the Arclight, and order my $15.50 ticket with one unknown person sitting between me and the other five people in the group.

Then about half an hour before the start of the film I get a text: "Oops! Mike had to change his flight so the movie is canceled!"

On the upside, I got five seats to myself.

If you like Wes Anderson you'll like this film. If you don't, you probably won't. It's pretty much that simple. He and Noah Baumbach took a short story about a snide, clever fox and turned it into a tale about family and courage and rabid dogs who like blueberries. It's cute as hell.

To me, it gets off to a bit of an awkward start because the animation they used is unusual. I've never really seen anything quite like it, but once you get used to the visuals the story really moves along. It's fast paced, clever, and filled with delightful little jokes that make you chuckle. That's Wes Anderson's style. He doesn't make you laugh hysterically, he makes you chuckle. I probably had a smile on my face the whole movie.

Just like the book was well aware that many of its readers are adults, the film makes that same acknowledgment. The studio didn't make them take out the description of how perfect and alcoholic the cider is that they steal from the apple farmer, and they replaced the word "fuck" with the word "cuss" so frequently they may as well be tossing around F bombs left and right. And you know, using the word "cuss" is actually better because it makes the moment more comedic.

There's also all these unexpected little moments where in the middle of a dignified speech or action where everyone's wearing three-piece suits and speaking eloquently, we are reminded of their status as wild animals because they'll suddenly get comedically violent.

Pretty much everything that jumped out at me as a problem in the screenplay has been fixed. This is a delightful, fun film that will no doubt rake in the dollars at the old B.O. Thanksgiving weekend. As well it should.


  1. Roald Dahl fucking rules. I am gonna try to see this on Thanksgiving.

    Your cinema has assigned seating? FUCKKK THAT!!! Mine doesn't

  2. Oh no assigned seating is great. It means you can just walk in right when the movie starts and don't have to sit there saving your seat. It also means you don't have as many kids around. And the Arclight has no commercials, only previews.

  3. Emily,

    Just wanted to congratulate you on the ScriptShadow logline Top 100!

    Wendy and I didn't make it this time, but will keep plugging away.

    Looking forward to seeing your script on film.


    "Wayne and Wendy"

  4. I made it? I've been so busy today I forgot to check. Woohoo! Thanks!


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