Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What a clustercuss.

I would not call myself a Wes Anderson devotee. I really like some of his films, and I love a couple of his films. Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums are both brilliant films. His other movies I like, admire, do not love.

Now he's back with something new, an adventure into stop-motion animation, Fantastic Mr. Fox. And I love this film. This odd little movie, based of course on Roald Dahl's classic children's book, captured my imagination from the opening scene. The screenplay really creates some wonderful characters, and the simple plot takes some fun and clever turns. The voice actors (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and Jason Schwartzman, among many others) help infuse the characters with a bizarre verisimilitude, considering the characters are all animals.

This movie is very funny, and I more or less laughed the entire time. In addition, like all of Anderson's films, a bittersweetness lies beneath the surface. But oh what a surface. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a visually stunning piece of animation, and I just loved looking at the screen. My favorite scenes involve cut-out long shots of the animals burrowing underground (and doing a very cute dance). And the way the film handles swear words is worth the price admission.

Fantatsic Mr. Fox represents a big change of direction for Wes Anderson, but for me it is a change back toward the place where his best films lie.


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