Thursday, December 1, 2011

Movie Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox

The movie Fantastic Mr. Fox takes on a lot of heavy themes—how to deal with a child that doesn't live up to expectations, how to cope with giving up your dreams in favor of having a family, whether you should try to live beyond your means, whether criminal behavior is okay if you don't get caught and punished, whether it's okay to steal (and distribute the stolen goods), etc.—and gets every one of them wrong. Mr. Fox ridicules his child and favors his more adept cousin instead; puts his family in danger while in the pursuit of his dreams (and even then he refuses to desist); buys a house he can't afford, placing a financial burden on his family; steals for thrills and to improve his lifestyle [1] without ever getting caught or expressing remorse (and even goes so far as to involve his family and community in his criminal activity); etc.

My verdict: Ignoring the moral flaws of the film, I'm not sure this works well as a children's movie.[2] Whenever the foxes smiled it looked rather scary. And there was a completely bizarre scene where Mr. Fox stops to talk to a non-responsive wolf. And then he moves on. Completely bizarre. Overall, the story wasn't good enough to justify the many years it takes to complete a film using stop-motion animation. I'm not really sure what I was supposed to get out of this film. That we should give in to our baser natures? That's a terrible moral.[3] Don't show this movie to your kids.


[1] I wonder if they got George Clooney to voice Mr. Fox because he was the main character in the new Ocean's 11.

[2] On the other hand, the title cards introducing each new development in the plot looked like they were done using MSPaint.

[3] Of course Hollywood disagrees with me (as well as the majority of film reviewers—see Mr. Fox (film)#Reception). In fact, they nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox for an Oscar in the "Best Animated Feature" category. Fortunately it lost to Up.

Image attributions:

Smiling Fox is by Rob.Baldwin, available at


  1. Obviously you haven't seen any of Wes Anderson's previous work or you would recognize he holds a style all of his own. I would highly recommend watching previous works such as The Royal Tennenbaums or Rushmore.

    He is one of those directors that films grow on you more than have a profound intital impact.

  2. That may be, but I still maintain that this is not a movie for children.