Even though I will never forget watching Fantastic Mr. Fox, I am struggling to come up with something to say about it. In both story and character, it shows flashes of brilliance, but neither is particularly worth writing home about. Rather, it is the tone of the film that keeps you entranced, never waiting anxiously to see what happens next, but still enjoying keeping your eyes on the screen. Throughout the entire experience, you are lambasted with quirk, setting a mood of possibility and imagination. Every so often, the film transcends, moving from quirky to wondrous, leaving you feeling like you’ve experienced something special, but unsure of exactly what it was.
Maybe it’s the delightful animation style. If Imdb is anything to be believed, director Wes Anderson intentionally decided to slow down recording so that the stop-motion process and aesthetic would be more apparent. And it works. Watching the little forest creature figures jumping and twirling around, fighting, fleeing, and burgling their way through the story, is a large part of the appeal of the film. It makes no bones about what it is, allowing you to take pleasure in the creation, rather than being distracted by it.
And then there’s the script. The movie’s one-liners add a lot to the charm. At times the dialogue and punchlines feel dry… and I say that because I didn’t get them, but when they’re universal, they can be great.
I would say that the film isn’t without its flaws, but some of what appear to be flaws seem to be intentional decisions, as though even though I don’t love them, there is an audience of Wes Andersonites out there who know exactly what’s going on and love every second of it. For me, for now, I will just think back on Fantastic Mr. Fox fondly and vaguely, enjoying what I could of the experience.