The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson movies are difficult to evaluate on first viewing, so it is with hearty 'meh' of assurance that The Fantastic Mr. Fox was something less than that, but certainly one day could be like the title. Anderson's adaptation of the beloved children's book (beloved in the sense that that is what I heard -- I never heard of the book until last month) is successful as a fun, quirky, sometimes funny tale of some wild animals struggling with their duties as domestic beings while still embracing their wild side.

The film itself is clever, perhaps too clever to take in one sitting. There was a direct line stealing / homage to an older film early on that caused me to drift off and think about what movie it was from. Minutes later when it finally dawned on me that the line was James Dean from "Rebel Without a Cause", I was wondering just what audience that line was in there for -- a film reference from an (relatively) obscure line from 55 years ago probably didn't get recognized by the target audience. I enjoyed it nonetheless, but only because I happened to remember the film line, which makes me wonder how many more subtle references are made in the movie. Wonder and irritate.

My gut feeling is that repeating viewings will make this film more enjoyable, perhaps on a fantastic level, but I don't know if I'm going to invest the time and effort to getting there.

PS. I had no idea Roald Dahl (author of Fantastic Mr. Fox) also wrote the screenplay to You Only Live Twice. This might explain how the giant volcano base came to be.

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