DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Blu-ray Movie Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Wes Anderson's imagination is the most creative force Hollywood has embraced since the cinematic glory that was the 1970's. Yes, as has been suggested by others, his films are not unlike those of Woody Allen; however, all joking aside, Allen, as a writer and director, is still busy being Woody Allen so comparisons are completely unnecessary and uncalled for. Anderson is a different animal; his films are fanciful and articulate, strangely human and off-puttingly sincere (for some). With Anderson's gift at gab tackling the unmatched prose and prowess of Roald Dahl, there can be no wrong done and with Regency Enterprises' release of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson has created cinematic stop-motion perfection. Finally, a film intelligent enough for kids and adults without talking down to anyone or taking any audience member's intelligence for granted.

Fantastic Mr. FoxProduction on Fantastic Mr. Fox began back in 2004 (before original partner Henry Selick jumped ship to work on Coraline) and Anderson's labor of love his attention to detail, that is - does not go unnoticed. The movie is the story of Mr. Fox (George Clooney) as he wrestles with his conscience and his prior escapades of stealing chickens in the face of changing expectations of him as a family man/fox from his wife, Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) while they raise their son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman), and care for their nephew, Kristofferson (Eric Chase Anderson). Caught dreaming of past glory, Mr .Fox travels to see Clive Badger (Bill Murray) and convinces his friend that buying a tree home overlooking three farms owned by three angry and powerful men, Bean, Boggis, and Bunce, is a good idea and not a temptation for him at all to revert back to his stealing ways. Despite his promises, Mr. Fox finds himself all kinds of wrong and his fall to temptation affects everyone in the animal community; it's in how they react by their own nature that becomes the emphasis of the story.

Despite the film being completely stop-motion, the charm of the voice talents completely shines through the process. Perhaps this is because Anderson went outside of the studio to record the voices; he recorded in houses, in woods, and in nature. As a result, the film's vocal contributions work on a consistent level with a breed of honesty unmatched by most animated features. Working with the same crew behind Burton's Corpse Bride, Anderson extends their creative stop-motion talents with his own take on stop-motion and animation through the camera lens complete with his signature camera styling and pacing. Tonally, the film fits alongside any of his other works especially The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and further extends Anderson's complex themes of family in the face of the individual while remaining suitable for children.

The quirky nature of Anderson's film is completely matched by the creative score of Alexandre Desplat, who previously delivered Twilight's haunting theme. This time around, though, Desplat seems to be channeling some crazed spaghetti-western theme as some of the cues feel coolly-wicked enough for Sergio Leon territory. In an almost seamless merging of celluloid and music, Anderson also uses The Beach Boys â"Heroes & Villans" as well as songs by Burl Ives and â"Street Fighting Man" by The Rolling Stones; it's a gift Anderson has displayed time and time again especially in The Darjeeling Limited with â"Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)" by Peter Sarstedt. The music is a bonus to the atmosphere created by Anderson's script and camera and his choices, as surprising as they are, provide a new relevance to each song's classic and recognizable sound.

Indeed, the film is a piece of fine, fine cinema; it is remarkable and engaging equal in depth and humor. Wes Anderson is at the very top of his game here and produces a magical level of excitement consistent throughout the film. As Murray has suggested in interviews, there certainly is â"something special" here. Fantastic Mr. Fox trots along at such an elegant speed that it never tires and is sorely missed once it concludes. It's a film ripe for multiple viewings in which its apple polish sheen never dulls.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
5 Stars
5 Stars
DVD Experience
5 Stars

Blu-rayBlu-ray Details:

Wow, wow, wow. This blu-ray is loaded with awesome behind-the-scenes featurettes and also comes with a dvd copy of the film and a digital copy, too. It seems the producers recognize their home video audience (families) and packed the case almost too tightly with bonus goodies; it is by far the heaviest blu-ray toted around. As usual, the bonus materials are presented in High Definition and 1080i, using Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional)

Language and Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

Supplements:

Commentary: None.

Featurettes:

Making Mr. Fox Fantastic is a 45-minute featurette divided into 6 chapters (for optimal viewing) discussing topics of the production of the film alongside Anderson's quirky sentiments about the film. This is indeed the most fascinating aspect of how the movie was made. The titles are: â"The Look of ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox'â", â"From Script to Screenâ", â"The Puppet Makersâ", â"Still Life (Puppet Animation)â", â"The Castâ", & â"Bill and His Badgerâ" and, as you can imagine, are as detailed as the featurette's running length suggests. Regardless of your position on the polarizing film, there is some very interesting stuff here.

  • A Beginner's Guide to Whack-Bat: This featurette is basically a short tutorial concerning how to play the sport that serves as the Mr. Fox's crux; fun and imaginative for the kids who find the movie appealing.
  • The World of Roald Dahl: three-minutes of collected interviews with Anderson, Dahl's wife, and cast members as they discuss the original story and its adaptation into the screenplay format.

Previews - Theatrical Trailer

Number of Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD) Digital copy (on disc) DVD copy.

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