Blog Response 11: The Fantastic Mr Fox

Analyze the Book
1. Fantastic Mr Fox is a short novel written by Roald Dahl. Dahl is an unlikely child author to say the least, a military man who’s life was riddled with tragedy. The tone of Dahls stories typically lack a sentimental element normally expected of child novels. The illustrations play a large part in the bizarre styling of Fantastic Mr Fox. They are sort of crudely drawn and have a little bit of ugliness to them that matches the sort of ugliness found in the story. The adults in the story are not role models, they are the villains. The head farmers are driven by pride and money from their respective industry. Dahl’s approach seems to make the grown up world scary and mean in order to shape young children into growing up wanting to be better than these adults.

Analyze the Film
2.  Wes Anderson is a writer/director with an unmistakable style. Though this is his first venture into the stop motion style or child fiction movie, his style translates effortlessly.  The figures in the movie are hand crafted with an intentional awkwardness that gives the movie character. The stop motion was purposefully done choppy and poorly to add to the personality in the film. Wes Anderson emphasised certain elements of the story that are common in his movies, such as a dysfunctional family, an estranged father figure, and an adopted son type scenario (Ned Plimpton, Eli Cash from Life Aquatic and Royal Tenebaums).  The movie takes many liberties in extending and modifying the original book but only really embellishing on what is in the book itself.

Analyze the Adaptation
3. Wes Andersons choice to employ stop motion animation rather than CGI or traditional animation accomplishes the feat of maintaining the feeling of the novel as well as creating something that doesn’t just compete with the books illustrations. The Film extends the story beyond the end of the original book. From what I can tell the extended story was just in an effort to make the story arc more adaptable to the screen, but at the same time the story ends on a little bit of a different note. Mr. Fox in the book never has to man up and risk sacrificing himself and is ultimately the sole hero in the story. Sort of in-consequential. Apparently the story line of Fox going straight edge is added into the movie that provided a whole theme of resisting ones nature, ultimately though Fox still ends up a thieving fox so once again there isn’t much deviation from the book.


this is actually really interesting. Apparently this movie had a tie-in deal with McDonalds? Where Fantastic Fox toys were included and happy meals and such. This is really surprising and seems to jeopardize Andersons credibility as an artist, I wont who made the decision.

An interview with Wes Anderson about making the film. The pain of doing stop motion and the sort of quirky things that Wes Anderson researches and focuses on that make his film what they are.

This writer compares the novel and the film, he seems to prefer the book much more. He defends the imagery in the book as being much stronger and did not enjoy some of the added story lines the film had. Little things such as the accent of the Rat being like a cowboy were little changes that peeved him. On the whole he enjoyed the movie as well and praised it for its look. You can’t please everyone but it seemed like critics will find something to get upset about.

Critical Argument

5. A massive strength of this adaptation is the attention to detail in the stop motion style of animation. As well as representing the style of the illustrations in a new medium, the stop motion animation gives the world a life that is unique and intriguing. The jerky animations make it look as if the figures were being played with by a child, acting out the entire movie by hand. The sort of mechanical way the figures moved and talked played perfectly into the hands of Wes Andersons awkward pace style of comedy.  The deliberate stylings of each characters features as well as the sets they are placed on is meticulously crafted, as is most of Wes Andersons films. The man has developed a deliberate aesthetic is his most recent films, and this one is no exception.


2 thoughts on “Blog Response 11: The Fantastic Mr Fox

  1. You bring up an interesting quality in the film that I had not notice. The idea that the stop motion animation looks as if children are playing with them. If you take the film adaptation from a purely animation perspective, then I am inclined to agree with the points you made. Thanks for shedding a new light to this movie.

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