Today we took our 2 older grandkids to see this delight of a movie.  They loved it and so did we.  I was not sure from the trailers that I would like it but it proved to be as "fantastic" as its hero.  Wes Anderson has done a lovely job of directing this adaptation of Roald Dahl's childrens' book, pitting good against evil as the animals outsmart the greedy farmers.  Much credit for the success of the film goes to the creators of the endearing puppets, their animators and their perfectly cast voice overs.  George Clooney brings to life the suave and crafty, fast-thinking Mr Fox while Meryl Streep portrays his wife with sexy charm and composure in the face of disaster;  Bill Murray is badger, the attorney, and Willem Dafoe the typical "doity rat" security guard for the farmer.  For me, it is wonderful how the animators can create such an amazing range of carefully nuanced emotions through the facial expressions of these puppets and to think the whole film is shot frame by frame ("stop-motion" animation) makes it much more impressive than other types of animation.

The story revolves around the themes of family and friendship, good vs evil, civilised vs wild.  Mr Fox, having given up his wild ways of stealing poultry (in favour of journalism!) as a promise to his pregnant wife, is later tempted by his innate wild longings to have one last great heist - against his greedy farmer-neighbours.  The result is an all-out war in which all his animal buddies become involved and learn to appreciate the diversity of talents among them.  The climax comes in a stake-out not unlike that memorable one in the Sundance Kid (but with a better outcome.)  There is also the sub-plot of his under-achiever son (hard to live up to a dad like that!) who starts out jealous of his talented cousin and ends up saving the day.  As the heros return home having rescued the hostaged cousin fox, a wild wolf appears on the scene, reminding them and us of our wild heritage so often lost among the trappings of "civilisation" - it brought tears to my eyes (but Pepe will say that doesn't count!)

All in all quite a delightful romp with lots of humour and style, wonderful colours and animation and superb characters.  Fantastic!

Score 8/10


It is always good to enjoy a movie with your grandchildren but when the movie is one that satisfies adult taste as well as children's, then the enjoyment is doubled.  It is the mark of a great child's movie that it has aspects that appeal to adults as well  - for me reminiscent of "Nemo" and "Chicken Run".

Mr Fox  - the typical upwardly mobile animal- has a perfectly happy life with his wife and son until once again the wild instinct takes over and he returns to chicken stealing.  I loved the fact that living in a den under the ground made Mr Fox feel poor so he bought and renovated a tree with a view.  Not unlike many of us "Mr Foxes" of the human world. 

The other animals were fantastic as well, with all of them well rounded characters and as Ma said, their facial expressions made them totally believable.
I also loved the instructions of how to play the game - a cross between baseball and cricket which were totally unintelligeble and confusing - not unlike the real games if you have ever tried to explain them to a foreigner!

This was a movie full of laughs, full of depth and even dared to touch on the existential meaning of life.

A great kids movie that stands on its own as a great piece of entertainment. 

Score:  8/10

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