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Fantastic Mr. Fox

Dig the life fantastic. 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Wes Anderson 
Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray  
An image from Fantastic Mr. Fox

“We’re different. We all are - him especially. But there’s something kind of fantastic about that, isn’t there?”

The notion that there is brilliance in diversity and individuality resonates throughout the story of Mr. Fox (Clooney), an expert chicken thief who has been forced to abandon his dangerous career by his equally fantastic wife, Mrs. Fox (Streep). Cut to two years, or twelve fox years, later and the now-frustrated Mr. Fox decides to relocate with his wife and son, Ash (Schwartzman), to a more grandiose home. Unbeknownst to his family, however, Mr. Fox’s domestic upgrade is simply a front that will allow him to conduct his biggest chicken, goose and cider heist to date.

From this basic premise, a sprawling journey of action, drama and hilarity ensues. Throughout the narrative we encounter a colourful spectrum of characters, from the executive Badger (Murray) to the sociopathic Rat (Willem Dafoe). The action is incredibly paced and surprisingly exhilarating – the original stop-motion animation lulls you into a false sense of rigidity that belies the fluidity of the film. The 'PG' certificate is also misleading in making you think this is a kid’s story; this is also not necessarily true. While there is nothing in the story that would disturb a younger audience, the witty dialogue and hilariously dry humour will doubtlessly sit better with the mature viewer.

The colourful, quirky and ultimately absorbing world that Wes Anderson creates harkens to a number of his equally successful ventures, such as The Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited. But the one thing that undoubtedly shines in this film about the animal world is the humanity that overarches the action. There are moments of real tenderness that will leave you smiling and emotional. After the credits roll you’ll exit the screen, proud of your differences, and feeling just that little bit more fantastic.

Daniel Hayden

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)