[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wild animals in search of a habitat

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

December 6, 2009 -- “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is an animated film, but it isn't aimed at children. It is as thought-provoking in its own way as is “Animal Farm.” It is a story about a war between humans and wild animals. It is a story which asks the question, do wild animals (particularly predators) have the right to live on, or near, a farm? This is an issue that is very hot in Wyoming right now, with some ranchers saying wolves have no right to exist, anywhere, but particularly not on their ranches.

This war is inadvertently started by Mr. Fox when he decides to raid the nearby three farms owned by farmers Bean, Baggis and Bunce, stealing chickens and other items. Mr. Fox had promised his wife years ago that he would stop his old chicken coop-raiding ways, but it is his in his nature to hunt, and the farms are too close to ignore. Mr. Fox's raids are so successful, he incurs the wrath of farmers Bean, Boggis and Bunce, and they decide that Mr. Fox must die. The farmers launch an all-out assault on Mr. Fox with excavation equipment, explosives and underground flooding. Mrs. Fox is very unhappy about all this, as are the neighboring badgers, possums, weasels, moles, mice, rabbits and other animals who have lost their homes in the war waged by the farmers against Mr. Fox.

These animals all find themselves hiding underground and hungry, but Mr. Fox isn't whipped yet, he comes up with a plan for a daring counter-attack against the marauding farmers. The farmers are not giving up, however. It becomes a battle of wits, and that is a game which plays to Mr. Fox's strength. The story also has to do with some rivalry in the Fox family and the natural talents which various wild animals can bring to the war against the farmers. There is a rat who has gone over to the side of the farmers who figures prominently in the story.

The story is both cute and edgy with a real battle to the death. Mr. Fox isn't really fantastic. He is more of an ordinary guy who makes his share of mistakes. But he has style and he is very clever. He is also a leader of animals who refuses to give up. This is a stop-motion animation film that is very cleverly done with a lot of savvy inside show business jokes lurking everywhere. As is common these days, there are a number of famous actors doing the voices, including the following, George Clooney (Mr. Fox), Wes Anderson (weasel, who also directs this film), Owen Wilson (coach Skip), Bill Murray (Badger), Willem Dafoe (rat), Meryl Streep (Mrs. Fox) and Michael Gambon (farmer Bean). This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2009 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)