Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanks, Mr. Anderson for the Fantastic "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

My groovy girlfriend took me to see a terrific movie today: FANTASTIC MR. FOX!

Man, was I in the mood for this film. The vocal talents, by Wes Anderson's regulars (Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray) and George Clooney, who, for once, I dug in this movie. I loved the film's look and energy, simple character designs, herky-jerky stop-motion animation (like CORALINE back in Feb.), a refreshing antidote to the godawful, hackneyed, crappy looking CG overkill out there (yes, PLANET 51, I'm thinking of you, you cuss!). In general, I'm a big fan of Anderson's movies, particularly RUSHMORE and THE LIFE AQUATIC. The quality is consistent with those films, as is his favorite theme, the dysfunctional piecemeal family. He even gives us that compartmentalized, split level view of all the characters, as he did in LIFE AQUATIC (in which his stop-motion seed was planted).

I'll be honest, I can barely get motivated to see Pixar films -- and those are probably the best of the lot. Even the much revered WALL-E, which I kind of enjoyed, lost me by its second hour. And why would I want to see a film about a restaurant rat in Paris? (RATATOUILLE). Gee, whiz, when someone uses CG to do a real HOWARD THE DUCK movie, perhaps I'll go. But for now, keep the creative animated films coming. Stuff like FANTASTIC MR. FOX!

Thanks, Mr. Anderson!


Greenblatt the Great! said...

My buddy "Lean 'n Mean" Dean LeCrone responds:

Michael. I too saw Mr. Fox, and really enjoyed it. Me and my son Paul saw it. It was such a breath of fresh air in the land of CG animation-- it's not just the CG animation itself, but the scripts, "hip" dialogue, predictable comic "moments, etc etc. are just being repeated and repeated in those films. I saw a trailer at Mr. Fox for a medieval dragon CG animated film (I don't recall the title), with some teenage boy befriending a young dragon and it was soooooo unoriginal. A young boy befriending a young animal, whose species is hunted because the community just doesn't "understand" them!? how many times has THAT plot been done in films? SHeesh. And geeeez, there is a young female character the boy's age who is the typical "tough girl" who I'm reveals her softer side later in the film. and if I hear: " are SO busted....." as dialogue in a film from a teenage female character (yes, they had the girl say that in the trailer) I am going to roll my eyes so far to the left in annoyance that they will pop out.

Fantastic Mr. Fox was just original in the style of animation, the dialogue, the pacing, the low key humor, everything. I enjoyed it. Very different. I didn't feel like I was being hammered over the head with the explosive animation and the loud shreaking comedy dialogue. And no stereotypical characters either, thank god. Certain characters and certain character traits are being repeated over and over again in the CG films.

Oh yeah, one more thing, I couldn't agree with you more about Wall-E. I felt that same way. Loved the first half of it. Kind of like an old timey silent film (or "Silent Running" type of film). But the second half, didn't like so much-- it turned into a different kind of film.

ok, I'm done venting. Dean.

Greenblatt the Great! said...

WALL-E was more like WALL-B MINUS. Ok, it wasn't that bad, but it definitely ran out of steam as it went along and devolved into typical hyper third act antics!

Yeah, Dean, I saw that trailer, too. I think it's called "How to Train Your Dragon." You're right, that plot is cliche and there was even "Pete's Dragon," for corn's sake (that's SAY-ke, not the Japanese alcohol).

Dean, the only thing worse than hearing the girl go "You are SO busted" in movie dialogue is if we hear her say it in a voiceover....NOOOOOOOOOOO!