Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Adventure / Animation / Comedy / Family
Fox || PG - 87 minutes - $39.99 || March 23, 2010
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2010-04-05


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer(s): Roald Dahl (novel); Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach (written for the screen)
Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe


Theatrical Release Date: November 25, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 8 Featurettes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • DVD Copy
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Wes Anderson's last film, The Darjeeling Limited, bombed (not only in Theaters, but to his fans). So I was a bit hesitant when I heard that one of my favorite Writer/Director was making a kids film, but suffice to say, he proved me wrong.

Many know Wes Anderson for the 2001 hit film, The Royal Tenenbaums. I've been following him since early 1998 when Rushmore came out and Conan O'Brien was pushing the DVD (and eventually the Criterion version) on his late night talk show. Once I finally saw it, I was in love. As a fan of The Graduate and Harold and Maude, Rushmore fit right in with that genre that I was most interested in: good writing, an awesome soundtrack and, of course, the young guy who goes after the much older female.

I followed him into The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic. But when I finally got around to seeing The Darjeeling Limited, I was almost sure he lost his magic. Such a slow moving film with very little happening, I was ready to write him off (as was Disney after the bombing of The Life Aquatic and Fox with The Darjeeling Limited). Thankfully, Anderson is back to his glory with The Fantastic Mr. Fox, an adaption of the Roald Dahl children's book. Not only is it a faithful adaption, but Anderson gave it his typical witty dialog and expanded the story and characters.

Fantastic Mr. Fox tells the story of Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) who live a happy life with their son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) and visiting nephew Kristofferson. They are, as one might guess, Foxes who live in a tree overlooking three different farms (Boggis, Bunce and Beans). Mr. Fox and Mrs. Fox, years (in Fox years) ago before their son Ash was born, used to rob farms for their livestock to feed on. After Mrs. Fox became pregnant, Mr. Fox swore off that life and go 'clean'. Well, one thing leads to another and Mr. Fox soon decides itís time to start back up in the thieving business with the help of various other animals and his gifted nephew Kristofferson.

Eventually the three farm owners figure out who is breaking in and taking their various treats (chickens, cider and meats) and make a plan to take out and destroy the Foxes and just about all the other wild animals around. This leads to Mr. Fox and Co. escaping into tunnels and finding a way to restore order and defeat the evil farmers.

As I mentioned previously, Anderson adapted the film from an old children's book. It's been years since I've read it, but I don't remember it being so interesting. Anderson had be captivated from the first few minutes right up until the conclusion. The way the film is shot (miniatures, hand-made sets) is spectacular, and you can really feel that Anderson loved every minute of it, instead of being forced to do so because of the failure of his last film (not an adaption).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox Featurettes (44 Minutes; HD):
+ The Look Of Fantastic Mr. Fox ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
+ From Script To Screen
+ The Puppet Makers ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
+ Still Life (Puppet Animation)
+ The Cast
+ Bill And His Badger ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

-- Anything you could possibly want to know about the movie is one of the above (6-8 minute) featurettes. It delves deep into how Wes adapted the book to film (adding some additional material to pad the film out), how he took actual pictures of items he 'liked' from Dahl's home and had it scaled down for the sets, how the puppets were made... it's all very informative.

Rounding out the disc is A Beginners Guide To Whack-Bat (1 Minute; HD) which is just the scene from the film re-explained in an retro 50's way; The World Of Roald Dahl (3 Minutes; HD) discusses the house where Dahl/Anderson wrote Fantastic Mr. Fox (both and screenplay) ** Blu-ray Exclusive **, and the Theatrical Trailer.

Also included is a bonus DVD Copy of the film (with features) and a Digital Copy (both ** Blu-ray Exclusives **).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is presented in 1.85:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. Considering everything in the film is a puppet, miniatures or a well designed set, this film looks breath taking. Everything is hand-made, and given the way the film was shot (stop motion), the quality really is nice (think Nightmare Before Christmas). The film is purposely rather drab (no blue), and the Blu-ray is a great faithful reproduction of it.

Fox has included an English 5.1 DTS MA track. Dialog is well placed and the rears are fairly active (for being a kidís film). Like other Wes Anderson films, every song seems like it was perfectly picked out and suited for each particular scene. Subtitles in English SDH, Spanish and French.



.::OVERALL::.

As a kids film, it might be considered a little bit dark. The story is easy to follow, but the British feel to it may scare off children who are more used to be told over and over what is going on. However, for an adult, this is a Wes Anderson film with animals. With his captivating storytelling, excellent detail sets, and a rocking Audio track, I can't recommend it enough.