A flash of ‘Fox’

Posted by · 5:11 pm · July 16th, 2009

Thanks to the combined efforts of Lars von Trier and Wes Anderson, 2009 should hold a unique place in cinematic history as the year that brought us not one, but two screen depictions of talking foxes.

The films they appear in couldn’t be any more different, though after looking at these two new stills (courtesy of Filmsactu) from Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” I find the woodland critter who pops up halfway through “Antichrist” to reassure us that “chaos reigns” less unsettling than these zombified-looking stop-motion creations.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

(More thoughts, and a second still, after the cut.)

I kid. As a lifelong Roald Dahl fanatic, I’m pulling for this film to join “The Witches” on the lonely platform of interesting Dahl adaptations — and if it means my first happy encounter with a Wes Anderson film, so much the better.

Its credentials are immaculate, including input from writer Noah Baumbach, composer Alexandre Desplat, design genius Alex McDowell and, of course, that handpicked voice cast — which includes everyone from George Clooney to Jarvis Cocker. (Though why are several sources crediting Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep — didn’t the latter step in for the former?)

Not even Pixar can boast that kind of hipster cred, which makes the film’s position in the awards race an interesting one. Since the Best Animated Feature Oscar was born, there has usually been one animated contender each year that boasts a slightly more elitist, arthouse-straddling cache, though the Academy’s reaction to such films has been inconsistent: “Waltz With Bashir” couldn’t even secure a nomination, but “Spirited Away” went all the way to the winner’s circle.

This year, however, sees a number of semi-highbrow titles — “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “9,” “Coraline,” “Ponyo” — jostling for the position of cineaste’s choice, and that’s without the universally esteemed “Up” to contend with.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

→ 9 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 7-16-2009 at 5:48 pm

    geha714 said...

    The second still is awesome.

    Hope than a trailer comes sooner.

  • 2 7-16-2009 at 6:22 pm

    average joe said...

    Love that second still, the painting in the background is class Wes Anderson. It reassures me that his style will come through in the film.

  • 3 7-16-2009 at 6:56 pm

    emily said...

    George Clooney?

    Aaaaand…I’m interested.

  • 4 7-16-2009 at 7:23 pm

    Colin said...

    “As a lifelong Roald Dahl fanatic, I’m pulling for this film to join “The Witches” on the lonely platform of interesting Dahl adaptations”

    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — not interesting?

  • 5 7-16-2009 at 7:38 pm

    James D. said...

    You didn’t like Rushmore or the Royal Tenenbaums?

  • 6 7-16-2009 at 7:48 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    well, i love stop motion, so im very excited

  • 7 7-16-2009 at 10:17 pm

    Rob said...

    I’ve seen it (well, a test screening where only half the animation was completed) and (a) Streep is indeed the voice of Mrs. Fox, (b) the dead eyes aren’t at all a problem from what I remember, (c) it’s fantastic, but you should be warned that the end result is equal parts Dahl and Anderson. If you unilaterally hate Anderson, Guy, you may still be irritated by a LOT of his stylistic trademarks that show up here.

  • 8 7-17-2009 at 1:26 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Rob: I don’t unilaterally HATE Anderson — that’s a bit strong. I’ve just never been particularly moved by his work, which I find precious and over-styled — though I think his aesthetic could transfer quite well to animation.

    James D: I’d say “Rushmore” is his best film, and there are quite a few things I like about it, principally Bill Murray. The rest I never want to revisit.

    Colin: I really can’t stand “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

  • 9 7-17-2009 at 7:48 pm

    Joel said...

    This looks weird. Just…weird. Which means I’m seeing it.