Impression: This is one of those movies I have been meaning to see for a while (10 years I guess, since it was released). Finally, it was playing for free in a cute little event space above a bar 5 minutes walk from my house on a weekend when I had nothing better to do. I love Wes Anderson’s aesthetic. The aesthetic along with the slightly weird way his characters act also means that all his movies have the same feel, and you could be dropped into a random film theater and within seconds recognize it as a Wes Anderson flick. This one is slightly different because it is stop motion, but it still manages to have that same feel.
As I learned from my 8 year old, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a Roald Dahl book, but since neither of us had read it, we weren’t sure how much liberty Anderson took with it. I assume quite a bit, but am not sure. George Clooney is the perfect voice for Mr. Fox, giving it just the right amount of slyness and oversized sense of self importance to make his character’s decisions believable. Jason Schwartzman has been an Anderson regular for over 20 years now, and has the right amount of whininess for Ash, the loser son who wants to prove himself to his dad.
The story centers on Mr. Fox who always feels he is missing something in life and is always looking for a better house, one last job, and is never satisfied. His careless attitude ends up getting himself and all his neighbors into trouble when he angers the farmers he has been stealing from, and they will stop at nothing to get him, not caring who else gets hurt in the process. There is a side story of a cousin coming to stay with the family, who is better at everything than Ash. I feel like this must be a total Andersonism, and was probably not in the original book. The purpose of the cousin character seems to be just to annoy Ash and make him seem even more whiney then he is just in relation to his father. The film ends with a fantastic escape plot with flying motorcycles and rabid dogs. In general it’s a very fun, well paced film, and my 8 year old had a blast watching it.
Facts: An anthropomorphic fox causes all kinds of havoc through his restlessness and dissatisfaction with life, bringing danger to his family and neighbors.
My Buddhist reading: well there is the obvious literal thing here in that the annoying cousin, Kristofferson, meditates. But, there is a lot of neuroses in the two main characters of Mr. Fox and Ash that could probably be taken care of in some way with a bit of self reflection and meditation. There is this whole concept of self- cherishing which is strong in both of them, they are so wrapped up in their view of the world and how right it is to even notice that it hurts other people.