fmf2 fmf2
Feature FilmTalkback

Fantastic Mr. Fox (wide release) talkback

Opening today in wide release is Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox. We posted a talkback two weeks ago when it opened in NY and LA, but now it’s time for the rest of you to chime in – in the comments section below.

  • I can’t say enough about this film. Full disclosure, I would call myself a Wes Anderson fan. I was unsure if Anderson could make a straight-forward narrative picture that would have widespread appeal, or more directly-outside his ferocious cabal. He and the animation team proved me wrong. The de rigueur banter, deadpan, and heavier emotions were enlivened with slapstick and visual gags.

    I love that the creative team did not choose to shy away from the look of stop-motion and at times accentuated its quirks. The way Mr. and Mrs. Fox dart across the screen in the first act had me smiling before any of the plot was in motion. Also, the ways the electrocution and the fox/rat battle were handled (freeze frame-style) were particularly deft. The running gags were constantly tweaked so they never felt old, not to me nor to the young kids in my screening.

    I’m not an animator, but I’d like to think I can see when good craftsmanship is on display. The sets were dressed in such an enveloping way, the world created on screen seemed appropriate and natural-not forced. Yet the details never hampered the motion of the narrative, as Anderson has taken heat for in earlier projects. The film was neither too long nor too short, it just felt complete when the credits rolled.

    It is my sincere hope that this team can work together again on another animated film in the future.

  • TK

    I think the film just booked itself into Oscar’s final 5. The only flaw the film had was the trailer! I found trailer’s cut to be too rush that gave the impression of poor movement animation, and somehow I couldn’t feel it in the final film. Great styling, lovable characters… it will be hard not to like the film.

  • tim!

    FANTASTIC! i couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. I would love to see Wes Anderson turn to animation more in the future, a perfect mix of his twee/precious asthetic. SO GOOD!

  • Rextherunt

    Love it! A real argument for ignoring trailers and waiting for the actual film because posting dismissive comments on Cartoon Brew. Almost every aspect of this just falls together and works.

    A billion years ago animation was born through the rough charm of bring dead objects to life. And the sense that real living people were somehow part of that was part of it’s appeal. We love Wallace and Gromit because we can see the fingerprints. I loved this because I could see the love involved and the fur rustling. Coraline might have stop motion so smooth that it could be C.G.I. but this film feels much more alive.

  • The screening I attended last night elicited dozens of laughs from the audience. I just loved every second of this movie and I can’t wait to see it again. There may be scenes that are over the heads of younger viewers, but there is plenty of slapstick and funny expressions/etc to keep them happy while their parents can enjoy the rest. With all the guns and violence, it was almost like watching a classic Looney Tunes!

  • Oluseyi

    Loved it! The only visual imperfection were the scenes where Mr. and Mrs. Fox were “glowing.” The textures, the motion, the environments – fantastic. The design, the direction… and I haven’t even mentioned the writing, which was really the best part of all. How hilarious was Ash? In my house there will be Fantastic Mr. Fox quotes for years to come.

    Bravo, I say! Bravo!

  • LOVED it! It is so refreshing to see a movie that dosen’t take itself so seriously and it felt to me like the artists and everybody involved had a wonderful time making it. And its shows.

    I would see it again today :)

  • Ethan

    I saw it yesterday, I had amazingly high expectations because I loved most of Wes Anderson’s previous films. It was even better than I expected.

    I was put off but the “voluntarily quirky” animation, and it took me about 5 minutes to adapt, after that it was non-stop fun. Beautifully crafted, well written, and hilarious dialogs.

    Every year I usually see all the animated films in theater, multiple times each, and I became used to toned-down and politically correct cleaned up scripts. As if it’s normal because it’s an animated film, we excuse too much crap because we got used to it.

    Once in a while there a film that disrupts this annoying trend and things change afterwards. Things change in a way that what “wasn’t allowed” in an animated film becomes possible for any film in the future. I truly believe Fantastic Fox is one of those few disruptive films that will change the industry for the better. I don’t think any other films this year can claim that, Fantastic Fox should get a Best Picture nomination instead of UP.

  • TM

    From the what could be considered the ‘rushed’ trailers a lot of my friends really had no desire to see this movie. I had some doubts about the quality, especially with the ‘unprofessional stop motion antics of the Director’ rumors I had an ear full from a family member. But being the one that generally goes to animated feature films to pass the final ‘review’ onto relatives and those in my circle of friends I was extremely pleased to see this film played out. The showing I went to was early in the day, and did not have much of a crowd at the time I went, but overall a lot of laughs were had at the appropriate time.

    The animation was reminiscent of works I remember as a child, and I really enjoyed the facial expressions expressed under the ‘furry’ look of the characters.

    Story was well, Fantastic, and the delivery of lines and mannerisms of characters really brought life to the overall experience and theme of the feature. Needless to say I left the theater really pleased and personally wanting to take another look at the film later with those I will be convincing to see the film. For some reason Wes Anderson’s style really seemed to drive this film, more so than in his other pictures. I really cannot say anything against this film at all. Especially with release of this film for Thanksgiving Holiday – it just meshes just right.

    An adult movie, presented as a ‘family flick’ with humor that will go over the heads of children, but friendly enough to be enjoyed by all without offending the most prudish parent or grandparent.

  • squirrel

    It was surprisingly good! The story was there, the characters were there, but it was definitely Wes Anderson through and through- I squeed inside when his usual still shots of the opening credits and the book cover appeared on-screen. The acting was a huge improvement from the trailers. The cameras were placed in very unconventional ways, yet you never felt like they were forcing everything in on you. The “cussing” got a good amount of the physical laughter. I think the audience had the most emotional attachment to Ash’s side story and his rivalry with Kristofferson- the deadpan performance from the both of them had more of an impact than if they were to be completely over the top.

  • Kyle

    AWESOME. I love the old school animation, not hiding anything behind computer rework. Voices fit really well with the characters and the environment of each scene. Music was very Wes Anderson but worked well. Enough kid and adult comedy and action to keep everyone’s attention the entire film. I also like that the film didn’t shy away from using cigs, guns, bombs, and a little violence. My kids (ages 5 to 10) loved it too. I want to see it again soon.

    It certainly was not a clusstercuss. It was beautiful.

  • I loved it, and so did our entire family. Even our 5-year old. Although since he couldn’t really read the ‘chapter headings’, he still enjoyed the overall story and quirky action sequences. Being a big Wes Anderson fan, I had a feeling that his attention to details would work well in animation and I was right. I want to see this film again for all the details that I missed the first viewing, and see it a third time to fully enjoy the pacing and storyline once more. I love the fact that an ‘outsider’ was able to instill a sense of magic to this medium through his unorthodox ways. Sometimes we need a little kick in the pants when it comes to the way we make films. This was a brilliant little film and a strong contender to Pixar’s UP for the awards season. Great job to all who worked on it!

  • Noel

    Really a wonderful film. I can’t remember the last time I saw such an existential message in a kids film. The way the characters reverted to animals throughout was really refreshing.

    Best of all, this is a kids movie that doesn’t treat them like infants. There is death, smoking, alcohol. All appropriate.

    Up is a great film, but this movie is cussin’ art.

  • loved it! though did anyone notice the Wallace and Gromit reference?

  • Absolutely loved it. Great animation style with great acting and voice acting turned to be a fantastic film! When’s it coming on DVD? Hah

  • TheGunheart

    I can honestly say this is my favorite animated movie this year. From the nostalgic visuals to the surprisingly deep story, I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when one local paper review gave it high marks but patronizingly called it a “lightweight children’s comedy”.

    Seriously, this is an amazing film that I feel really pushes the boundaries of storytelling in the medium. The only problem I have, and it’s merely a personal one, is that the ending teeters uncomfortably on the line between “bittersweet” and “downer”. I like more bittersweet endings myself, but this one is quite a bit more far reaching than I’m used to.

    It’s also funny to realize that, in relation to that ending, the villains can not be defeated. They are humiliated time and time again, but in this regard they are probably, from a narrative perspective, the scariest cartoon villains of the decade. Even the Beldam could be taken out for good, but these three farmers simply will not give up, and nothing in the animals’ arsenal will stop them for long.

  • I watched this film last night in the Odeon Leicester Square. Unfortunately it was one of the smaller screens tucked round the back that is a lamp shade and a few cushions short of being a living room. But not even the small size of the screen could diminish this film for me.

    Wes Anderson’s films are always trying to push visual boundries of accepted cinema, like the bi-sected boat set from The Life Aquatic. But having the freedom to paint the world as he see’s it has, for me at least, seen him push these concepts further than he was ever able and thus make a beautiful, funny and thoughtfull film. If not a little over long, but you come to accept that from Wes and I gladley forgive him for it.

    As a foot note, Micheal Gambon’s performance as Franklin Bean is outstanding…give that guy a medal and a promising future as a voice artist.

  • yvette kaplan

    I love this film so much, and have beamed and raved about it since going to an early screening– it makes me SO deliriously happy to read all the wonderful responses! Sheesh, you’d think I made it myself!! : )
    Which reminds me of a wonderful quote from one of the smartest reviews on the film I’ve read. Courtesy of A.O. Scott from the NY Times:

    “…the point of everything Mr. Anderson has ever done is that truth and beauty reside in the odd, the mismatched, the idiosyncratic. Not everyone will like “Fantastic Mr. Fox”: and if everyone did, it would not be nearly as interesting as it is. There are some children- some people- who will embrace it with a special, strange intensity, as if it had been made for them alone.”

    Obviously, there are more of us “alone” ones than even Wes knew existed! Thank you Wes, for making this wonderful film for us all.

  • Loved it! Very entertaining through and through…..the funny little moment with Mr. Fox and “the wolf” was absolutely brilliant and topped off the whole film wonderfully.

    The stop-motion feature film has truly come of age, full circle from Starewitch’s “Fox” to Anderson’s “Fox”

  • Anthrocoon

    After turkey comes fox (and other critters.)

    Great movie…just saw. A lot of work went into the design and stop motion animation and a lot comes out. Mr Fox promised the wife he’d give up his wild animal ways and stick to newspaper columns, but you can’t take the chicken-stealing ways out of a fox. Ultimately it leads to war with humans, and it’s vulpes vulpes’ ingenuity and pluck that might just give them a chance.

    With a son and nephew (Ash and Kristofferson) learning to appreciate each other; a piano playing mole; Willem Dafoe-voiced security rat; Bill Murray’s lawyer/badger; a fast talking rabbit chef and rabid beagles (don’t forget the blueberries! Beagles love blueberries.) Visually looks great (would have to watch again to catch various in jokes, etc) and it was funny.

    “Whistle, click-click. That’s my trademark.”

  • It was fabulous. Funny and smart and never boring for a single second. What a year for animated films! Almost makes up for Hollywood’s unbearable live-action output.

  • Sara H.

    My comments are much the same as everyone elses, I loved every minute of it, cant wait to go see it again and again with everyone I can drag to it. I think it might be my favorite film of the year.

    My only regret is that I watched sooo many clips from it online before seeing it, I would have loved to walk in not knowing what to expect.

  • Casper the friendly executive

    Wow! These are the most amazing set of positive reviews I have ever seen on the Brew and an inspiring answer to all the debates about bloated budgets, lack of individual vision, formula ridden stories etc, which are raging elsewhere. Yet more people are posting about how they feel let down by The Princess And The Frog!

    So come on Jerry – plug it again. We’re looking at something really positive for the future here and need to make all the Disney disappointed give it a chance (and a dollar) rather than dismiss it because the trailer was poor and the animation not what they’ve gotten used to. This is the new Iron Giant so let’s all get behind it and help it be a hit.

  • Gobo

    Brilliant movie, warm and charming, and authentic to the book in all the right ways. As much as I loved UP, I truly hope this takes Best Animated Feature to encourage more oddball indie quirky smart handmade animation.

    My big complaint — terrible, terrible trailer, yes. The trailer for this turned many of my friends off of the movie… “Why would I see a crappily-animated furry version of Oceans 11?”. I’m happy that those friends came away singing its praises and telling everyone to go see it immediately.

    I wonder what kids think of it? I know the little girl sitting behind me loved it but was baffled by the deadpan Wes Anderson humor. It was great hearing little kids singing the “Boggis Bunce & Bean” song in the lobby afterwards, though!

  • monz

    great fillm. probably one of the best animated films i have seen in theaters in years (even more memorable than up!). there was something about the handmade quality of the characters, their imperfections, that made me feel that much more for them. a move full of memorable characters for sure.

  • Mike Caracappa

    Awesome movie! I loved Ash’s totally angst-ridden personality, how he’s always trying to get his father’s attention, and his bitter competition with Kristofferson. To me those were the best moments in the film, and overall it was a lot of fun. Great stuff!

  • Ethan

    I agree about the trailer. Fox must immediately fire those responsible for it. I am utterly unable to convince any of my colleagues to go see this film because they hated the trailer. (of course they think I’m a extremist fanboy, so that doesn’t help my case).

  • Ethan

    Opening day estimate is 1.2 million for Wednesday.

    Anything can happen, but it will probably end up with a loss. Hopefully it will win an oscar, which will sell a lot of DVDs, but I won’t get my hopes too high, “some people” are acting as if the oscar will obviously go to the all-uppercase studio.

  • Matt Sullivan

    Best Animated film of the year :} Way better than UP…more fun too.

  • Sylvain

    Best film of the year, not just animated.

  • Dock Miles

    As suggested elsewhere, single most brilliant aspect is that the film dares to be overtly handmade yet so internally consistent that it doesn’t matter in the least — you don’t have to be state-of-the-art slick and realistic to score big! This should be major news.

    Other good things:

    no songs — or, rather, no attempt to be a musical.

    language elevates reckless protagonist to lovable rascal.

    the odd aspect of possum eyes gets its due.

    cricket is mocked.

    biological information is extolled — no animal is presented who couldn’t possibly live underground. (Especially, you know, no male bovines with udders.)

  • Gepinniw

    Great film. Beautiful to look at (I love the warmth and imperfections of the hand-made world), great story, likeable, well-drawn characters….need I go on? It gets my vote for the Oscar.
    My boys, 4 & 6, loved it too. They were fully gripped from start to finish.
    I want a t-shirt with a picture of the “wolf salute” on it. It’s such a wonderful image. Could someone get on that, please?

  • This excellent movie, easily one of the best films I’ve seen all year… animated or otherwise, is the animated film I’ve been waiting for all decade. In an industry that is constantly wanting to make animated worlds look more and more realistic it is relieving to see a film that revels in its lo-tech stop motion ways. THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX’s cleverness and micro-attention to detail goes against all the formulas of Hollywood and anime and will be talked about for years to come.

    I’ve always loved Wes Anderson’s compositions in his films. He has the eye of a Romantic landscape painter… staging low horizons and filling spaces with personal, lasting touches. His characters are not part of our reality, but a more stagy and stylish hyperreality. In short, his characters have always been cartoony and with MR. FOX Anderson has probably made his best film.

    Part of the movie’s cleverness is the way that it treads seriousness without ever going there fully. Absurd touches flourish through the film such as Mr. Fox is sitting at his breakfast table in his stylish clothes one minute, then tearing through his meal like an animal the next.

    Somehow, Hollywood seems to have forgotten a layer of fantasy in all its mock-ups of digital city landscapes, bland suburban tract homes, forgettable songs, and one-liners. They have also forgot absurdity, surprise and subtlety. MR. FOX blows the past 20 years of animated storytelling out of the water simply by not acknowledging any of it. That is one of the great feats of this film.

  • Emily

    Saw it for a second time, appreciated it much more than the first time. It was a lot to take in. The first time I saw Royal Tenenbaums I was in high school. Also then, I felt like I had seen something I was totally unaccustomed to…it took a few more viewings for me to realize I loved it.

    Fantastic Mr. Fox is totally unique, and a true pleasure to watch. It’s gotten nothing but rave reviews. Although I liked Coraline very much as well, I think this might have more of a chance of beating Pixar’s Up at the Oscar’s. I’m hoping it does :) If it doesn’t, at least it will help encourage a new age of medium budget, well told, animated stories.

  • Jonathan

    I’m not a Wes Anderson fan, and I loved it. A breath of fresh air in the world of animation. Simple and fun.

  • Greg Ehrbar

    My son and I enjoyed it too. We also were hesitant because of the misguided marketing (as with Iron Giant and Meet the Robinsons) and it was not high on our must-see list — in fact my wife was not interested and she saw something else with my daughter (are you reading this, Fox Advertising folks?) I wish all four of us could have seen it together and you better believe we will.

    Frankly, they had me by opening the movie with “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” which by the way, is mistakenly listed in the credits as performed by The Wellingtons. Actually it is the soundtrack version by the MelloMen, but I’ve seen it mislabeled elsewhere too. And the highly underrated “Love” from “Robin Hood.” How nice. The entire score was as unconventional as the film — dominated by banjo and rhythm tracks to give it an “independent film” texture rather than the now-obligatory John Williams-type score (not that I don’t love those scores too, this is just a fresh approach and avoids the modern factory film feel).

    Even the titles were clever, all in keeping not only with a singular director’s vision, but also very much in the Roald Dahl style. This particular book, by the way, is perhaps one of the most challenging to bring to film since it is one of the few Dahl stories without magical fantasy elements.

    I think the overall takeaway, and the thread through all the other comments on this topic is — intelligence. That’s a prized commodity in so much of today’s entertainment, animated or otherwise. This is a film as smart as a fox.

  • Mike!

    I must be the only person on the planet not taken by this movie. While I enjoyed the animation style and quirks, I wasn’t really engaged by anything else. The whole movie had a very blaze, awkward air that I couldn’t get into. It felt flat to me. I’m kind of bummed out that I couldn’t get into this, but whaddya gonna do.

  • TK

    Weekend box office numbers are out and guess what… it only made $7m! This is once and for all that film’s financial success is not about quality of the film itself but the marketing that supports it. Fantastic Mr. Fox made many marketing faux pas along the way. The biggest to blame would be the trailer which I mentioned earlier. As I myself and others found out that the film’s quirky animation style needed some time to adapt to, the trailer somehow never allowed this phenomenon to happen. After the 1st trailer has been panned, 2nd trailer was released with reviewers’ praise plastered all over, the damage has been done.

    Next to blame is the limited release. Face it, no one outside NY/LA likes limited release. It was supposed to generate hype but somehow in this case it worked the opposite way. Back to around the week of the initially released, I learned that the film was going to be released that week but later learned it’s going into a limited one and I had to wait 2 weeks to see it. How exactly can we hold the enthusiasm for 2 weeks? Even worse, when it went on wide release, sites like rottentomatoes didn’t list it under “Opening” as it was released earlier. That 92% fresh really went unnoticed. Basically, no one noticed it’s out in wide release and the film tanked.

    The list of mistakes went on and on like how it missed the target audience or how it didn’t maximize the potential of the social networking. The result was the hype so low and so bad that (as I learned from my friends) even the furries (which the film is suppose to appeal to) didn’t care about it! Shocking, huh?

    Meanwhile, Astro Boy is now officially off the hook.

  • Ethan

    It didn’t tank. It’s 10M$ for the “5 day weekend”. It should end up between 30M and 40M domestic box-office, and should make money with DVD sales and international box-office. I suspect the film will have “legs” with critics and word-of-mouth.

    I assume the studio’s goals with this film is about prestige and diversifying, we can’t deny they successfully achieved both.

    If you compare with other Wes Anderson films, this is the expected box office. As I said before, the film will be considered a success if it breaks even. Nobody ever expected Fantastic Fox to make 900M like Ice Age, and nobody expects Ice Age to win an oscar either.

  • Everyone did a great job with this film! It feels good to watch something fresh and unique.

    When I was in the theater, I heard more laughter from the adults than the children. It is a Wes Anderson film…so I don’t expect most kids to get the jokes. It’s like trying to get a kid to watch Rushmore…if they laugh more times than you have toes…make sure again that they aren’t in high school (what a horrible analogy!…i’m sorry everyone).

    The strongest part of the movie I feel was the interaction between the characters…or at least the “good guys.” I loved the dialog and it’s fast pace.

    The weakest part I would say was….that DAMN RAT!….just…arrgh. Even for Anderson…I just didn’t get it.

    Anywho, great film!

  • Gepinniw

    The rat was a sad little creature who lost his soul to apple cider. Reminded me of a couple of relatives.

  • I was late getting to see this, just saw this evening (Dec. 6) .

    I really liked it a lot. I’m another one who wasn’t sold on it based on seeing the trailer , but the movie won me over completely. Very fresh, very entertaining. I loved it for not falling into the usual “animated feature film” cliches. I think this one could end up having a very long life via DVD/BluRay . (I’ll buy it for sure !)