Fantastic Mr. Anderson!
The eagerly awaited Fantastic Mr. Fox premiered at the BFI London Film Festival under the direction of Wes Anderson. Due for general release on October 23, I wanted to take a look at the man in the director’s chair and see how Anderson has carried over his distinctive visual style from live-action features to stop-motion animation.
First let’s get an idea of the story. Mr. Fox (George Clooney), a retired thief, decides he wants a better life for himself and his family so moves wife Felicity (Meryl Streep), and his son Ash (Jason Schwartzman), into a better house. However, Mr. Fox has another motive for moving into this particular house – it happens to be ideally situated for him to return to a life of crime!
Anderson has been described as an auteur, meaning his films reflect his personal creative vision. Each minute detail has a significant purpose in Anderson’s films. Anderson’s passionate involvement in the casting, wardrobe, sets and screenplay for each of his films is meticulously formed with careful attention to detail. And Fantastic Mr. Fox is no exception.
Anderson stated in an interview done by the Criterion Collection that:
“What I’m more inspired by is something that happened to me or someone in my life who had a strong effect on me, or a novel, short story, play or a movie where the characters moved me, or where I was swept up in it.”
Fantastic Mr. Fox is not only curiously well suited to Anderson, it also happens to be the first book he ever owned. With the story so dear to him, Anderson actually made a pilgrimage to the author’s home and the script for the film was penned in Dahl’s very own chair.
And finally, it’s clear that Anderson is fond of the familiar - particularly with his casting choices. Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Anjelica Huston have all made voice appearances in his latest venture as well as starring in previous projects.
With a combination of attention to detail and eccentric direction, my hope is that Wes Anderson has accomplished Roald Dahl’s vision and has success with this old-school, adventure comedy.