BLU-RAY REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Another Roald Dahl book comes to (animated) life on the screen...
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Author Roald Dahl is best known in film fan circles for his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it's multiple Hollywood incarnations. However, things may change now that director Wes Anderson has brought another amazing Dahl story to life on the screen: Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Based on Dahl's 1986 short story of the same name with some additional writing by director Anderson and writer Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox finds us following the adventures and misadventures of Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney), a newspaper man who vows to give up his restless chicken-stealing days when he learns his spouse (voiced by Meryl Streep) is pregnant. Jumping 12 years into the future, we find their son, Ash (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), an awkward teen who must compete for his father's attention with his "best-at-everything" cousin Kristofferson Silverfox (voiced by Eric Chase Anderson).
Looking to move, the Fox family finds the perfect tree house that just so happens to be in full view of three farms that don't appreciate the type of attention drawn from woodland animals. Of course, Mr. Fox soon finds the temptation too much. Back to his old antics, with Kristofferson Silverfox and Kylie Opossum (voiced by Wallace Wolodarsky) in tow, this soon leads to a battle with the farmers and a family feud with Mrs. Fox, disappointed and angry at her husband's broken promise. Likewise, we find Ash trying desperately to impress his father, who seems caught up in Silverfox's bravado.
The video and audio of Fantastic Mr. Fox is stunning. The animation, lighting, colors, characters, and sets appear perfectly represented on the small screen, making it seem as though one is looking through a window into this truly amazing world. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track brings to life the sounds and dialogue from the film. Though 98% of the sound comes from the front speakers, the track still proves solid and worthy of merit.
A bit short on special features, the Fantastic Mr. Fox single-disc blu-ray includes a solid "Making of" featurette. Near 45 minute long, the featurette includes interviews with director Anderson, writer Baumbach, and Roald Dahl's wife as well as in-depth explanations about puppetry, animation, voice acting and more. A 1:12 "A Beginner's Guide to Whack-Bat" short explains the rules of the game played by every woodland creature while a 3:00 "Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl" short focuses on how director Anderson was inspired by the author. Finally, the film's theatrical trailer is also included.
A family film geared more toward intelligent adults than younger youth, Fantastic Mr. Fox is still solid entertainment for the whole family, educational at others and fun always. Anderson, who's become known for telling stories about dis-functioning families, proves that no matter what species you are, family life isn't always easy. Just ask Mr. Fox...
Rated PG for action, smoking and slang humor.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley