Friday, December 18, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Anderson!

Wes Anderson has made his genius ever-apparent once again in his latest move Fantastic Mr. Fox!. The movie is, of course, based off the classic Rohl Dahl book of the same name. I personally have never read the book, though it seems that most school aged children have become familiar with it at one time or another, but it made no difference to me when viewing Anderson's eye-catching new piece of cinematic art.

Anderson uses his distinct style of animation, that we previously only catch a glimmer of in his previous films (The Life Aquatic, etc.), to create a full length feature that is both witty and mesmerizing. George Clooney is a great fit as Mr. Fox (as is Merril Streep for Mrs. Fox), and who would not love Bill Murray as a badger? The anthropomorphism of the characters is so strong, one almost forgets they are supposed to be animals. The soundtrack sets the tone -- and is perfectly in sync with the animation -- with original composition, indie music, and, yes, a little bit of the Beach Boys. Even though the plot is about coming to terms with one's true nature, I couldn't help but think the film itself was a beautiful exercise in escapism.

It seems to have been the season of fantasy and whimsy with one "fantastical" film after another. Fox echoes the idea of an other-worldliness that could also be seen recently in Where the Wild Things Are. Both are based on best-selling children's books, are retold by renowned indie directors, and both provide a visual feast for the eyes while touching on deeper psychological themes. Although this move may be more child-friendly than WTWTA, it still has many aspects that seem tailor made for adults to enjoy. And enjoy it I did!

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