The Fantastic Mr Fox

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I’ve been away. Where and for what reason: I cannot say. But I can say that I was in Halifax at a month-long shopping trolley convention. Anyway, I found time in my time away to go to the cinema and not see The Fantastic Mr Fox. Here is my review:

Hitherto, Wes Anderson has indulged his muse wherever it might lead him. The muse whispereth into his ear that his next film shall feature Bill Murray nibbling like a genteel hare on a dainty splinter of carrot and squinting demurely at the fruitsome Olivia Williams (Sweet Williams, who puts the tug-lass in cut-glass, with nary a rumour of orthographic violence). And verily, ‘Rushmore’ is brought forth into the world featuring the very same root-vegetable-based courtship scene. Or the muse tells Anderson to watch some Jacques Cousteau documentaries and find gainful employment for Willem Dafoe. Lo! The Life Aquatic is showing at a cinema near you.

When, therefore, I learned that Wes Anderson was engaged in adapting a children’s book for cinema, I naturally assumed that the muse had deserted him, leaving him impotently and uncreatively twiddling the nobs in the supernatural banger of his imagination like a more nerdy incarnation of Orphee. Don’t misunderstand me: I like children’s books. ‘The Wizard’s Pyjama Party’ is one of my all time favourite bildungsromans. I am also very partial to ‘Tiny Pirates in your Spleen’, which brings a lyrical intensity to the stock kids-book scenario of a person having microscopic buccaneers inside their internal organs. But surely Anderson needs to adapt the writing of no man. He is his own crucible of invention: the alpha and omega of the film production process. It is well known that he even insists on doing the catering himself, and can oft be seen on set serving up triangular egg salad sandwiches to stars such as Adrien Brody, Anjelica Houston and Jason Schwartzmann (Owen Wilson provides the dessert). Why he would need to draw on the words of another human I cannot understand.

Or, rather, I could not understand, until I saw this film. Anderson is a gifted writer of dialogue for humans. But where the rhythms and slang of animal speech are concerned, he is sorely lacking the skill he possesses in other areas. It is not a coincidence that the Tiger Shark in The Life Aquatic only appears for a brief few seconds and is pointedly laconic while ever on camera. Rumour has it that the original piece of dialogue Anderson wrote for this scene was so bad that Tarantino ended up using it in Ingluorious Basterds. Apparently, in the original script, the shark appeared in view and exclaimed “I’m going to fuck you ten sides of Sunday”, which makes no sense, even if you are a shark. Stealing, or adapting to use the parlance of film studies, the animal dialogue of another writer was a shrewd move on Anderson’s part therefore.

I won’t tell you anything about this film or pass a verdict on it. To do so would be to defeat the object of a review. I can however tell you, in the manner of a hoary northern poacher, that ‘The Fantastic Mr Fox’ is bursting from t’arse to t’snout wi’ vulpine magic. Stick it in your pot you ponces.

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6 Responses to “The Fantastic Mr Fox”

  1. oldrope Says:

    I thought it was a film about one fox that was on fire, one fox that could stretch, one fox that was all invisdibles and one that was caught beetween a fox and a hard place. And they all wore blue spandex costumes…

    Oh and I like “puts the tug-lass in cut-glass”, I’m deffo gonna rock that one out in praise of me mam at one of her next dinner parties

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    No Old Rope, that was a film that you found under Old Uncle Ernie’s bed, and I thought we agreed never to mention it again.

    I reckon Ma Rope would be touched at such a thoughtful filial tribute. Do it!

  3. oldrope Says:

    You leave Ma Rope out of it, you remember our ‘discussion’

  4. Banjo Fett Says:

    I saw the trailer for this at the cinema and felt I’d seen enough. I like the technique of putting superlatives in the titles of stuff though, it’s very effective marketing. I may try renaming my blog ‘The Incredibly Awesome Banjo’s Brew Blog’ to see if it gets me more hits.

    And maybe add some exclamation marks in there.

  5. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Nice idea. How about ‘the Banjoest, Brewest, Bloggest Banjo’s Brew Blog in the Frakking Verse’ – the last bit to sweeten the pot for BSG and Firefly fans.

    On that subect Sir Fett, I demand an entry, either on this blog or the aforementioned brew blog. I just want something to wet me beak.

  6. Banjo Fett Says:

    DONE! Haha, I totally ninja’d your ass with my post! BOOM!

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