Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox

It's refreshing to watch a movie intended for kids and adults that doesn't need to rely on a gimmick like 3D.  Instead, this is an old school movie that relies on puppets to tell its story, which is loosely based on a story by Roald Dahl, the guy behind "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "James and the Giant Peach," and others.

As you'd guess from the title, the story involves Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) and his wife (voiced by Meryl Streep).  After getting stuck in a cage, Mrs. Fox confesses that she's pregnant and makes Mr. Fox promise that if they get out alive that he'll stop stealing chickens and do something respectable.

When they do survive, Mr. Fox goes straight for 2 years (12 fox-years) by becoming a reporter with the local newspaper.  He and Mrs. Fox move into a burrow with their son Ash.  All seems right with the world.

Except that Mr. Fox has an itch to get back to his old ways.  He starts by buying a tree to live in, which gives him a great view of the farms of Mr. Boggis, Mr. Bean, and Mr. Bunce.  There's a rhyme about them saying that one is fat one is short and one is lean but they're all equally mean.  With the help of Kylie the possum, Mr. Fox steals chickens, geese, and alcoholic cider from the farmers.  He hides all of this from his wife so that she thinks he's still on the straight and narrow.

But Mr. Fox's actions have unexpected consequences when it creates total war between the human farmers and the animals living around them.  It will take far more than one fox's cunning to save the day.

The movie is about as good as anything Pixar has put out.  It's a fun little romp that both kids and adults can enjoy.  And as I said at the beginning it doesn't require state-of-the-art computer animation or 3D glasses.  Nor does it need the gross-out humor movies like the "Shrek" franchise employ.

The puppetry looks a little odd and it really isn't all that great when lots of motion is needed.  Still, as someone who used to enjoy the Muppets it didn't really bother me.  And I never knew foxes were so good at digging.  I learned something.

Probably when you're thinking of someone to create a movie like this, the creator of "Rushmore," "The Royal Tenenbaums," and "The Life Aquatic" isn't going to be your first choice.  And yet Wes Anderson manages to pull it off as well as Tim Burton and company did for "Nightmare Before Christmas."

This is a good rental for the whole family.

That is all.

My score:  75/100 (3 stars)

Metacritic score:  83/100 (3.5 stars)

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