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The Up-Turn

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Here is a review I wrote for my school newspaper for Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The last thing director Wes Anderson, of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, was expected to do was create a masterpiece that could be enjoyed by both children and adults.  Anderson is known for his dry wit and dark humor, two traits not usually associated with children’s movies.   With Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on a book by Roald Dahl, Anderson is able to marry his directing style perfectly with a story for all ages.   Anderson is able to keep an unmistakable reverence for Dahl’s source material while adapting it into something distinctly his own.  “So much of his work has inspired me over the years,” said Anderson.  The film is “an homage to Roald Dahl.”  Continue after jump

Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, attempts to lead a staid bourgeoisie life, but he can’t, succumbing to his wild nature and “fantastic” urges.  He steals chickens, ducks and cider from farmers Boggis, Bunce and Beans despite the misgivings of his disapproving wife, voiced by Meryl Streep.  The farmers catch wind of his schemes and plan to eliminate Mr. Fox.  What develops is an adventure filled with wit and humor for all ages.  Particularly charming, with a dash of dark humor, is the relationship between Ash, Mr. Fox’s son, voiced by Jason Schwartzman, and Kristofferson, his nephew, voiced by Eric Anderson.   Kristofferson is a soft-spoken athlete who is good at everything he does while Ash struggles in his shadow.  What develops is a great character dynamic that gives depth to a cast of characters led by Clooney’s Mr. Fox.

The movie is distinguished by its style of animation.  Anderson decided to film Mr. Fox in a meticulous stop-motion animation, and the animators spent two years completing the project with Anderson supervising them every step of the way.  The result is both breathtaking and one of a kind.  The attention to detail is simply unmatched in any recent animation, as every frame is brimming with personality and charm.

Although Anderson may never again direct a PG film, his romp into the world of children’s movies is a true work of art.

5/5 Stars

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