Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Movies with Brian - Fantastic Mr Fox (and a guest post at Book Blogger's International!)

Before we start movies with Brian, you might want to pop over to Book Bloggers International where I will be talking about the famous Golem of Prague. A creature that has a special place in my literary and travel heart.

Hi everyone! Today is the first day that Brian joins us to talk about movies! Soon I will have a tab at the top of my home page where I will collect Brian's musings for easy finding. Enjoy!
Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox:

Well, I thought it might be nice to ease into Library Educated by starting off with a film adaptation of one of Roald Dahl’s beloved books: The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Dahl being famous for other works such as James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG, and The Witches to name a few. If you have read (or seen any of these movies) you know to expect a great deal of quirk, and that kind of makes Anderson the perfect director to adapt this tale.
The film itself is shot with stop motion puppetry (think Wallace and Gromit) which creates this beautiful, if not affectatious, movement and a not-quite-animated feel that places it perfectly between cinema for grownups and children. As is typical with any Anderson movie the film is set to a very retro coloring theme in which characters, sets, and props are all different but coordinated in color and pattern. Visuals are not the only retro choice, but a soundtrack filled with the Beach Boys, the Stones, and the theme song to the Davy Crockett TV show (Yes – the king of the wild frontier). To round out the movie is a an incredible cast that includes George Clooney (Mr. Fox), Meryl Streep (Mrs. Fox), Jason Schwartzman (Ash – the Fox’s child), Bill Murray (Badger), Michael Gambon (Bean), and the list goes on (even into the bit parts).

The basics of the story are this: Mr. Fox is hitting a midlife (possibly end of life as he mentions that he is nearing the age his father died) crisis and wants bigger and better for himself and his family. Now, quick background on the Fox family: When Mrs. Fox discloses she is pregnant with Ash she demands that Mr. Fox reform from his days as a thief; so he complies and begins writing for the local newspaper. Stage one of his mid-life crises is buying a bigger and better house. The fox family moves (much to the chagrin of his lawyer, Badger) from their foxhole into a tree. This tree just happens to be across the field of three of the biggest farms in the English countryside: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.
Phase II of mid-life crisis: revert to thieving ways with “one last big heist”. Mr. Fox begins with quite a bit of success, but what he doesn’t recon is that Boggis, Bunce, and Bean will plot their own revenge, leading to a majority of the forest creatures to becoming trapped underground and rather disgruntled with Mr. Fox. Now Mr. Fox is left to figure out if his wits are going to get them all out of the trouble he got them into.
The movie is amusing, and thoughtful. If you want to watch something just to be entertained this movie works. If you want to watch something and reflect on existential dilemmas this movie works. It offers so much to a wide audience, and it might make you (or at least make you feel like) a better person – I know that’s a tall order for a movie to fill, but I think it does, and that is why I am giving it 5 out of 5 stars.
So, gather the whole family, or steal a couple hours to yourself and enjoy the folksy and quirky Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Happy viewing,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!