13 Jul

The Book

Mr. and Mrs. Fox live together with their fox children right by three mean men; one has a stock of chickens, one a stock of ducks, and one apple cider. Mr. Fox is very clever in stealing from one of these men every night, and never gets caught, despite the men’s best efforts and plans. The men finally decide to smoke Mr. Fox out by waiting for him to emerge from his hole and shooting him. They succeed in shooting off his tail, but Mr. Fox gets away. They then decide to try digging the foxes out, but again Mr. Fox outsmarts them by having all of his family dig faster and deeper than they can reach.

The Film

This movie is done in stop-motion animation with whimsical colors and shapes. Most of the events in the book are preserved, but with many creative additions. The voices were mostly recorded outside instead of in a studio, so that they would sound more authentic to the scene. Clooney was brilliant in this film as Mr. Fox.

The Adaptation

This movie goes a long way to expand upon Dahl’s famous book. Characters including Mr. Fox’s lawyer appear to “set the stage” for a longer movie. Additional scenes are also included to give the characters and the plot more depth. Clooney is quite believable in this role and no doubt, drew audiences to this adaptation. The movie’s style contributed to its Dahl-like essence.

The Critics

This film fared well amongst the critics. Guerrasio praises the film that “dazzles children and adults alike”. He acclaims George Clooney’s voice role of Mr. Fox. Overall, the imaginative look of this movie sit well with this critic. Sabo lauds Anderson’s “most mature film to date”, complimenting Clooney’s performance and a strong script.

Condon also enjoyed the film, calling Mr. Fox a “perfect hero”.

The Critical Argument

Both Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Fantastic Mr. Fox are adaptations of British fantasy children’s novels; additionally they both rely on special effects. In the Harry potter series, CGI ruled the day. Yet Fantastic Mr. Fox led the audience down a more nostalgic path of stop-motion animation. Some were skeptical that Fantastic mr. Fox might be overshadowed “in this age of CGI and big special effects, but it was actually the perfect medium; the jerky motions adding to the story’s overall quirkiness and the simplicity of the settings giving it a hint of nostalgia” (Katie B., 2009). This differentiates the movie from the slickness of Potter. Yet, both remain to to the author’s vision. Potter is a slick series. Fantastic Mr. Fox was childlike and a little clunky. Barnes remarked that “Fantastic Mr Fox is one of very few adaptations of classic British children’s literature that moves a story into our era, while remaining faithful to the original author’s vision in both look and feel” (Barnes, 2009).

Works Cited

Anderson, Wes, Noah Baumbach, Allison Abbate, Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wallace Wolodarsky, Eric C. Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker, and Roald Dahl. Fantastic Mr. Fox. Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp, 2010.

B., Katie. Fantastic Mr. Fox—Film and Book Review. First Book. Dec 22, 2009. Web. July 9, 2015

Barnes, Henry. Wes Anderson’s Urbane Mr Fox is Truer to Roald Dahl than Most. The Guardian Film Blog. Oct. 20 2009. Web. July 9, 2015.

Condon, Emily. Reverse Shot’s Best of 2009: Fantastic Mr. Fox. Museum of the Moving Image: Reverse Shot, 7 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 May 2015.

Dahl, Roald. Fantastic Mr. Fox. New York: Knopf, 1970. Kindle Edition

French, Phillip. Fantastic Mr. Fox. “The Observer”. The Guardian. Oct 25, 2009. Web. July 9, 2015

Geurrasio, Jason. Fantastic Mr. Fox. Filmmaker, 23 Mar. 2010. Web. 16 May 2015.

Parker, James. Outfoxed. Slate Magazine. Nov 24, 2009. Web. July 9, 2015.

Rybin, Steven. The Animated Auteur: Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Global Cinema. n.d. Web. July 9, 2015

Sabo, Lee W. Inimitable Charm: Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Bright Lights Film Journal, 31 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 May 2015.

Zacharek, Stephanie. Fantastic Mr. Fox: Better Than Pixar. Salon Magazine. Nov 11, 2012. Web. July 9, 2015.


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