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Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Dig the life fantastic.

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 87 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG

At first I was horrified – the Americans have hijacked the British instution that is the Fantastic Mr. Fox and filled it with real estate, electric fences and Owen Wilson. After the initial disappointment, I tried to look past the Roald Dahl children’s novel of my youth and see the film behind it. What I found was an exquisitely made animation which is so recognisably following the Dahl spirit.

Mr Fox (Clooney) is a chicken poacher but as his wife (Streep) finds out she is pregnant, he sets aside his animal instincts to provide for his new family, and becomes a newspaper columnist. His urges return, however, and he sets about stealing from the three local landowners once again. Boggis (one short), Bunce (one fat) and Bean (and one lean) are not men to be trifled with and, hell bent on revenge, they stop at nothing until Mr. Fox and his family are destroyed. These three are the ultimate bad guys – one extraordinarily despicable and two who are cowed into submission – and still are Dahl’s finest creations. Also, watch out for a brilliant musical cameo by Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker which is drolly cut short by Bean.

It’s all just so slick and effortlessly cool. The animation feels homemade and original – a nice antidote to the seamless but ultimately soulless Disney-Pixar computer-generated fare. The soundtrack is a great mix of sing-along classics and upbeat tracks that fit perfectly in sync with the action. The chase never lets up as we are treated to gunfights, motorbike chases and a number of masterplans, and the compact length seems just right for kids and adults. It does try and fit a few too many unnecessary modern gizmos and fads into the movie to add a little modern cool, but this can be forgiven, as it does actually add a little modern cool. Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is quintisentially Roald Dahl though and his memory is in no way tarnished by the latest adaptation of his books.

It's Got: Awesomely cool animation and soundtrack, the spirit of Roald Dahl

It Needs: To get shot of Owen Wilson - why does he have to be in everything?


A fantastic big screen adaptation of a fantastic book keeps both kids and adults happy.