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Movie Curiosities

The online diary of an aspiring movie nerd

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

ByCuriosity Inc.

Nov 29, 2009

I found this to be a very enjoyable movie. The writing was solid, the voice acting was very good, the production design was staggering, the color palette was nice and warm and the intentionally rough-edged animation had an immediately relatable quality to it. It’s not perfect, though. Not by a long shot.

For starters, there’s our antagonists. From the very first moment that Boggis, Bunce and Bean sit down together, it’s abundantly clear that Bean is the leader of the pack. Hell, throughout the entire movie, he’s the only one of the three that actually does anything. This is especially problematic as we’re told throughout the movie (even in the score!) that while these crooks are different in looks, they’re nonetheless equally mean. No friggin’ way. Speaking of which — and yes, I realize that this is something of a petty nitpick — why were the humans cursing with “cuss”? I can understand the foxes and badgers doing that. They’re animals after all, so I can suspend disbelief long enough to buy that their mannerisms of speech and jargon would have some peculiarities. Still, when a human says “cuss” when he should be saying “fuck,” it just sounds ridiculous. Better to leave the curse words out, I think, and let their villainous actions speak for themselves.

Then there are the animals. This movie made no move to hide or sugar-coat the fact that these were wild animals. They are loud, messy eaters and their arguments often spiral into growls and scratches. That was a refreshing change of pace and it’s good that Anderson made a theme out of it. On the other hand, he also shows these animals reading newspapers, playing sports, taking chemistry class and drinking out of animal-sized wine tumblers. I understand that Anderson was trying to make a point about how they’re all just wild animals inside, but he could have and should have gone further with that. As it is, the two sides of the animals’ wild vs. civilized conflict just don’t mesh.

Last but not least, there are the close-ups. Good lord, those close-ups. I wish I could slap Paul Anderson and cinematographer Tristan Oliver for okaying all of those close-ups. I mean, I can understand what they were going for. Even the most pedestrian movie fan knows that close-up shots are practically a must for intimate scenes. But when the characters’ faces take up the entire screen while looking directly into the camera, it doesn’t come off as intimate so much as invasive. I could look past one or two of these, but there had to be fifteen minutes or more of this movie that were nothing but extreme close-ups directly into the camera.

Still, despite the uncomfortable camera work, I found this to be a nice, watchable movie. I wouldn’t call it the best movie of the year or even the best kids’ film of the year (Wild Things, anyone?), but it’s definitely worth a look. I’m sure it beats Planet 51 all to hell.

By Curiosity Inc.

I hold a B.S. in Bioinformatics, the only one from Pacific University's Class of '09. I was the stage-hand-in-chief of my high school drama department and I'm a bass drummer for the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers. I dabble in video games and I'm still pretty good at DDR. My primary hobby is going online for upcoming movie news. I am a movie buff, a movie nerd, whatever you want to call it. Comic books are another hobby, but I'm not talking about Superman or Spider-Man or those books that number in the triple-digits. I'm talking about Watchmen, Preacher, Sandman, etc. Self-contained, dramatic, intellectual stories that couldn't be accomplished in any other medium. I'm a proud son of Oregon, born and raised here. I've been just about everywhere in North and Central America and I love it right here.

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