The First Book blog team recently took a field trip to see Wes Anderson’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Read the team’s thoughts below as they share their likes, dislikes and opinions on how the film compares to the book.
Nisha: While the filmmakers may have doctored the foxes’ family dynamics a bit, Ash and Kirstofferson were the perfect charmingly blunt pair of troublemakers to keep audiences engaged. The book reflected a slightly different story, with four fox cubs and a far more shameless means of putting food on the table. In the book, Mrs. Fox places requests for supper, which Mr. Fox proudly obliges by stealing from one of the three farmers. The movie did however stay true to the spirit of Roald Dahl’s witty and imaginative world, including many direct quotes from the book itself. Told in Dahl’s characteristically windswept fashion, viewers are dragged along for the ride of a lifetime (literally) as the animals fight to outsmart farmers Bean, Bunce and Boggis.
Aesah: I loved it—and was pleasantly surprised that I did. The filmmakers kept the spirit of the original work when they expanded the story but also managed to sneak their own quirky brand of humor into the film. I had my doubts about an entire movie done in stop-motion animation, especially in this age of CGI and big special effects, but it was actually the perfect medium; the jerky motions adding to the story’s overall quirkiness and the simplicity of the settings giving it a hint of nostalgia. Wes Anderson’s masterful hand turned it into just another layer of the story. George Clooney and Jason Schwartzman were perfect choices to voice the Fantastic Mr. Fox and his son Ash, respectively. It has something for everyone and I will definitely be adding this movie to my collection.
Bonnie: With the opening scene playing the song “Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier” – I knew I’d love this movie! Wes Anderson is known as a less than typical director, which fits with a Roald Dahl story perfectly. I especially enjoyed the choice to use stop-motion, and like Aesah stated with most movies are now using big special effects I was a bit wary but this difference in animation made the film visually interesting and it is still able to move along in a fashion that adds to the charm of the story. Wes Anderson’s first animated film is a goodie and I recommend it for kids and adults alike.
Katie: All in all, I was delighted with the film version of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. I’d give director Wes Anderson three cheers for the vocal casting, soundtrack and the seamless additions of new characters. The casting of George Clooney and Meryl Streep as Mr. and Mrs. Fox was spot on, and it was fun to pick out recognizable voices including Jason Schwartzman as Ash and Owen Wilson in a cameo as Coach Skip. The film’s soundtrack added a rich background that complemented the visual animation. With artists as varied as the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Burl Ives, this soundtrack includes something that just about everyone will like. Finally, I loved some of the charming characters – Kylie the opossum being my favorite – that were added in the film version. They brought a dash of whimsy that was a perfect foil to highlight the original characters from Roald Dahl’s story.