Wes Anderson’s unique stop-motion picture is an amalgam of surreal images, of disturbingly human animals and stylized picture book settings. It reaches into the depths of the Uncanny Valley and comes out with an almost hyper-aware sense of its own oddity, mocking the traditional arc of character development in the form of furry skins and dry quips.
The film is especially amazing in its first half, which opens with a vibrant set piece of Mr. Fox and his enigmatic tree. Wes Anderson makes use of the oldest form of animation, and the results are eye-catchingly beautiful when combined with his colorful palette. The sound design is equally crisp, and they found a great group of voice actors to match the manic energy of the film’s animated characters.
The film’s screenplay is smart and refined, with sharp-shooting conversations and an abnormal number of classic one-liners pouring out from furry lips. The script is constantly making fun of traditional Hollywood films, in one scene knocking the deep existentialist questions that every protagonist seems to have, and every sidekick seems to have the answer to.
Unfortunately, the film falls into a lull during its second half, getting bogged down by a thin plot and rushed attempts at character development that hinder the humorous, satirical nature of an otherwise brilliant script. It gets much closer to the typical animated fare of Hollywood once the main conflict gets underway, and I absolute abhorred the ending scene, which I found to be bland and useless. Nevertheless, as with all Wes Anderson films, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a fresh cut away from the typical fare coming out of L.A.