Fantastic Mr. Fox

What a year. Coraline, Up, Ponyo, 9, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – topped off with The Princess and The Frog and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

In Fantastic Mr. Fox director Wes Anderson injects an adult sensibility, along with his usual indie filmmaking quirkiness, turning a childhood classic into a uniquely satisfying filmgoing experience. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best films of the year. The animation style is refreshingly, intentionally retro: Rankin-Bass meets Willis O’Brien, by way of Ladislas Starevich. In this exclusive promo (below) we get a quick peak behind the scenes at the London studio that put it together:


  • http://robertdress.blogspot.com Robert Dress

    This film looks great! Can’t wait to see it.

  • Alex

    I just want to add that I find it funny that the advertisement for a Best Picture nomination for Up doesn’t have any images of the balloon. In fact, it looks kind of like Revolutionary Road. Which I think got nominated for Best Picture.

    Oh Oscars, you so crazy.

    To keep on topic, this looks amazing. It hasn’t been just an amazing year for animation, but for children’s movies in general. If you did not like Where the Wild Things Are, you are Wrong ™.

  • http://zachattackary.blogspot.com Zach Smith

    I am so freaking excited for this.

  • http://joelbrinkerhoff.blogspot.com/ Joel Brinkerhoff

    It was great to see Mark Gustafson again. He is the guy Laika should, (probably will), get to fill Henry’s shoes.

    I hope the film is a huge success.

  • swatsi

    No no no. It’s awful.

  • Viridis

    Eh, I remain skeptical. For one thing, the puppets they used this time around just strike me as very creepy looking. For another… well, adaptations of Roald Dahl’s work have been misses more often than hits for me. He was one of my favorite authors as a kid, and the only movies I’ve seen of his work that I really enjoyed was The Witches, and the original Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. The latter has basically no relation to the plot of the book, but it’s still a fantastic movie. The Witches was very close to the book besides the happy ending. The others seem to have fallen into either creepy-styled stop-motion (James & The Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox) or live-action that doesn’t quite work (Matilda, Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka).

    I might keep an eye out for this one on DVD, but I don’t think I’ll pay the $10 to see it in theaters. :/

  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com Emmett Goodman

    The video link doesn’t seem to be working. But that’s okay. I am looking forward to this movie immensly. I am excited by the features that have come out this year, and hopefully, they will continue forward. I am just excited to see a stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl, with British Invasion music (a trademark of Wes Anderson).

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    I’m looking forward to this film as much or more as a film goer than an animator. Looks like fun.

  • I go by many names

    I saw it a few days ago at Grauman’s as the opening movie for the AFI Fest and LOVED it. I had a smile on my face the whole time. It was so much fun and I enjoyed the animation tremendously.

  • http://www.optionjoe.blogspot.com Joe Apel

    I agree, I saw it last night as well and really enjoyed it. I’m a fan of Wes Anderson’s movies, which I think help my enjoyment. I also loved the fact that he put in three Beach Boys songs (two are rarely heard) and two Disney songs.

    I’m still not sure if this movie is for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it.

  • David Levy

    Jerry add to your list of features: $9.99, Mary and Max, and My Dog Tulip. For breaking new ground, I would wager these are among the most important animated features of this year. And, they are great films, period.

  • Bill Turner

    I very much enjoyed Mr. Fox but wonder about the intended audience and how it will do at the box office. I appreciated that it wasn’t dumbed down for children, but I also do not believe children will go for it. And will adults other than Wes Anderson fans go to see this? I don’t know. I agree with Jerry it is one of the best of the year.

  • http://www.sirrobrob.com Rob

    Mary and Max is the stand out in a remarkable year of stop-mo features.

  • Gobo

    Viridis, you’re saying you won’t pay to see “Fantastic Mr Fox” because you didn’t like movies made by other directors of entirely different stories, filmed in entirely different ways than this one? That’s bizarre. That’s like saying you won’t pay to see “Where the Wild Things Are” because Transformers 2 sucked.

    For my money, it looks like it could top “James & the Giant Peach” as the best adaptation of Dahl; if nothing else, Wes Anderson has revealed himself as an unabashed Dahl geek, so I have high hopes. Glad to see advance word that the movie’s as good as I’d hoped.

  • optimist

    Mr. Fox looks like a crude “furry” character, or one of the (poor) latter-day “Splash Mountain” ride animatronics. Very bad design choices for the main character in a film and far from groundbreaking.

  • tom Stazer

    I don’t know what I’m missing, but to me this looks dreadful. Well intentioned, but unpleasant looking.

  • http://rossphillips.net Ross

    I saw Fantastic Mr.Fox on Sunday and I have to say, it was one of the best animated features I have ever seen. It was absolutely breathtaking to look at, and I had a big grin on my face the entire way through. Just superb.

  • greg m.

    Great to see Allison Abbate in that clip!!

  • rextherunt

    I think we have a pretty clear consensus here. People who have seen the actual movie love it. People who judge things by trailers don’t. In the UK critics have loved it and it’s doing well with the public too. It’s very heartening that something so defiantly quirky can also be a popular sucess.

  • http://animationaddiction.blogspot.com Kevin H

    I really loved the movie — both for the beautiful animation and the touching story. I thought the story was much more realized than Coraline. However, this said, the Q & A at the Arclight on Monday with Wes Anderson led me to believe he had very little knowledge of the animation process, even after the fact. When asked about why he shot in England and not in Los Angeles, he tried to dodge the question in front of the mostly LA-based stop motion ASIFA crowd saying that “England already had an infrastructure” referencing the existing crew at 3 Mills Studio and Aardman. Of course, there’s no one in states who does stop motion.

  • Saturnome

    I’ve just seen a couple of trailers and I think it look superb. Reminds me of Le Roman de Renard, one of my favorite stop-motion film.

  • http://thedreamerskingdom.org TK

    What a year indeed… and only 3 spots for animated feature Oscars nomination would be totally absurd.

  • Sara H.

    I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this movie. I go watch the trailer whenever I’m feeling down just because it makes me soooo happy!!

  • Rick

    I must admit after seeing footage I am impressed. No sense of the regluar obnoxious points that plague most animated features.

  • Sylvain

    Bill,
    Does anyone other than the fans of Wes Anderson go see his films ? No. So what’s your point ?

    Oh yeah I get it, they should only make animated films for a wide, children friendly, american public. Because it makes more money. And money is the only measure of success in hollywood.

  • juan alfonso

    The first thing that popped into my head when I saw the preview was “The Mouse and the Motorcycle”.Did any of the folk that worked on that end up working in “The Fantasti Mr. Fox”?

  • GK

    I would also add Ponyo on your list.

    On topic, I share the nervousness of some regarding the transcribing of this movie to film. As a huge fan of Roald Dahl, I have yet to find any of the animated versions of his work appealing. That being said it’s a pleasure to see a feature being made in a quirkier style, and the trailers I’ve seen so far have me looking forward to it.

  • Trevor

    It’s not “retro” its just crap. I understand, support, and even work on my own to help advance the hand made intimate look, but these characters don’t even look at each other when they’re talking. Their lips just sqirm around their teeth when they talk, and this has more needless celebrity voices than a shrek film.

    I don’t blame the animators for any of this, I blame Wes Anderson

  • Erin Siegel

    This looks so quirky and adorable! I like seeing characters that don’t smack of Disney (love Disney, tired of seeing copy cats).

  • Shemmy

    This has to be the ugliest looking animation of the year. I am sure people will be in the ‘it’s so retro and charming and yet innovative’ camp,but for me this just look horrific.

  • http://www.theguysperspective.typepad.com THE GUYS

    This looks great. We definitely plan on going. However, animation aside,
    if the story is good, the movie will be good. We’ll let you know.

  • Gobo

    Trevor, have you seen the movie? Not the trailers, but the movie? Seems like those who’ve actually watched it enjoyed the film very much, and certainly don’t think it’s “just crap”. I know it’s easy to post silly comments anonymously on websites (it’s called “trolling”), but I’d suggest actually watching the movie before calling names.

  • Jason

    Trevor, thank you. My feelings exactly. This Fox thing isn’t Chicken Run. This is uncanny valley for animals. And it’s horrible animation. You’d have to have a high tolerance for ugly and an unshakable undiscriminating love for anything that (kind-of) moves to embrace this film. (shudder)

  • Bill Turner

    Sylvain, Money IS the only measure of success in Hollywood. So if a really good film like Mr. Fox is seen only by a few Wes Anderson fans, it will be deemed a failure by the studios that finance such films and that hurts us in the industry. I would hate to see this film suffer an Iron Giant fate. It needs time to build word of mouth beyond just Wes Anderson fans. The current marketing is better than Iron Giant, but I’m just asking, Is it enough?

  • http://jessicaplummer.blogspot.com Jessica Plummer

    Let’s get something straight for a moment.

    THIS…is ugly crap: http://www.freakyflickers.net/

    This, Fantastic Mr. Fox, is a quality animated film. Regardless of personal opinion, which are totally warranted and should be shared, I find it disheartening that Fantastic can be “critiqued” so lamely by some viewers with a straight face here.

    A film this hearty, unappealing to you or not, deserves a little bit broader of vocabulary.

  • rextherunt

    Dear Trevor and Jason and Shemp, please read previous posts. People who have seen the whole film love it as a totality and a broad audience in the UK are going to see it and liking it too. Not ‘crap’. Not ‘horrible’. And not all of them ‘indiscriminate ‘ either. As a film it works for them. Sorry that you didn’t like the trailer.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    I have enjoyed all Wes Anderson’s films to date. I don’t LOVE his films, but I enjoy them

    I kinda like the premise of this film.

    But I also find the characters extremely ugly and the animation dull and rigid. And I doubt watching the whole movie would change my opinion on the aesthetic level.

    I’ll still watch it but I’ll do because I’m intrigued about the plot and I like Wes Anderson, definitely not because of the visuals.

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com Gagaman

    I gotta say I love that so many of the stop motion features in recent years have been animated in my home country the UK, there’s just so many studios like laika dedicating themselves to it, I love it. :)

  • Emily

    I got to catch the ASIFA screening. I thought the film was perfect for what it was…Fun, funny, and visually interesting. I personally think it’s Wes Anderson’s best film since Royal Tenenbaums, which I adore.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    This is not a proper animation discussion.
    Nobody has said “bland” or “generic” yet.

  • Richard Gadd

    This is a great film – I really enjoyed it. Yes it is very much a wes anderson film in tone.

    The visuals really do work – not the slickest – but great fun (and great colour palette). Heresy I know – but I preferred it to Up (which I really enjoyed – just not as much as ‘Fox)

  • http://weirdurl.com Zekey

    all of my UK animator friends have seen this and have all said thus far that it was great.

    i’ll just have to get over the odd way it looks.

  • Sylvain

    Bill,
    Money is a measure of success for an entire studio.

    This kind of film only needs to break even to be considered a success, but it absolutely needs critical acclaim, and prestige from things like… you know… the Annies and the Oscars… I don’t think Fox actually expects this film to make a lot of money at the box office. Do you ?

  • http://theAMIGOunit.com Milton

    Pretty fucking excited. I’ve been looking for to this for like four years.

  • Mac

    Just saw it and it was really good. I wasn’t impressed by the trailer. I found the combination of an English countryside look with American accents really jarring, but when I saw the film myself it worked as part of the whole weird world that was created. I’m glad I was wrong about this film.