We saw Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox at the weekend. It was a curious experience: the film looked and sounded beautiful, and naturally Anderson is superb in styling his world. Mr Fox’s corduroy,and Mrs Fox’s dresses, were all beautiful stuff, and the vaguely 1970s feel was offset by the antiquey furniture – tiny replicas, apparently, of Roald Dahl’s own home. At the same time, though, we had to ask, ‘why?’ Why make a film of this wonderful children’s book (Dan’s favourite when a tot), and turn it into a wise-cracking, neurotic, referential film with terrorist analogies and heartbreaking rat death scenes? It wasn’t that the film wasn’t good; it was just a strange prospect.
Mr Fox himself was clearly depicted as an untrustworthy fantasist (particularly in that scene with the fully animalistic wolf), which in and of itself is enough to make the whole affair more morally complex than Dahl’s original – and not the same story at all. Throw in the school angst (Rushmore with fur), the aforementioned Western redemption scene, and a whole lot of dialogue – characters in this film talk a lot – and you have, well, a Wes Anderson movie. No bad thing, but you still wind up asking, ‘why use the title at all?’
We enjoyed it, though. It is, as it were, worth a gander. (Anna would like to note that was Dan’s pun.)