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Fantastic Mr. Fox (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo w/ Digital Copy)) - Blu-ray / animation DVD / children's and family DVD / children's book adaptation DVD review
FANTASTIC MR. FOX (THREE-DISC BLU-RAY / DVD COMBO W/ DIGITAL COPY) Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 5 stars
Featuring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson
Director: Wes Anderson Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 23 March 2010 Runtime: 87 min. (3 discs)
Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 - Spanish, Portugese, French), Subtitles (English, French, Portugese, Spanish, Chinese [Simplified], Chinese [Traditional]), Making Mr. Fox Fantastic, The Look Of Fantastic Mr. Fox, From Script To Screen, The Puppet Makers, Still Life (Puppet Animation), The Cast, Bill and His Badger, A Beginner's Guide To Whack-Bat, Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World Of Roald Dahl

Wes Anderson's FANTASTIC MR. FOX (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo w/ Digital Copy)FANTASTIC MR. FOX is a fantastic combination of several wonderful things - it's an excellent Wes Anderson film, an excellent Roald Dahl film, and a wonderfully entertaining stop-motion animated film.

Wes Anderson, the director of such fine films as BOTTLE ROCKET, RUSHMORE and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, has put together a film that bears his unmistakable mark from the camera angles to the occasional pregnant pause and chapter headings. The hand of Roald Dahl is not to be missed, either.

Dahl's other works, you may recall, include CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, MATILDA and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, and they tend toward the dark. MR. FOX is no different, though I can't say I've got any lingering feelings of dread as with CHARLIE or MATILDA. While there are darkish elements in FOX, they aren't so dark that your children need to be sheltered from them.

The animation is amazing, the cinematography unique and creative. The stop-motion animation involves mostly furry characters, and fur is notorious for being difficult to animate smoothly. Rather than avoid the inevitable "boiling" appearance involved with animating furry beasties, Anderson chose to embrace the look. He loved the look of the boiling fur in the original King Kong and chose to showcase it. I must admit it works. You never forget the nature of this animation, but that's okay. It helps one appreciate all the work going into the film.

Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, begins as a successful chicken thief. When Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) becomes great with child, she asks him to give up his life of crime and go straight. He becomes a journalist, though he's not sure if anyone reads his work. When the Foxes buy a tree in sight of three prominent farms, Mr. Fox feels the resolve of his promise to Mrs. Fox waning. He is a wild animal, after all. His son Ash, (Jason Schwartzman), craves his father's approval, though dad seems to prefer his nephew Kristofferson (Eric Anderson), who excels at everything he does on the first attempt. Mrs. Fox does what she can with the hole Mr. Fox has dug for their family. She's a strong woman, but she understands the nature of her man.

The owners of the three prominent farms from which Fox decides to pilfer declare war on Mr. Fox, and his life is turned upside down. He and his family must dig deep into the ground to avoid the vengeful steam shovels of the humans.

Blu-ray reveals the excellent hand-crafted textures of FANTASTIC MR. FOX, from the fur of the animals to the wooly cotton of the smoke of a burning pinecone. The palette is devoid of blues and greens, making the film very warm and vibrant. The colors that remain are fall colors (they make me want hot apple cider).

Extra features include a series of making-of featurettes that are fun to watch and explain much of the inspiration behind the film. FOX reinforces a notion I've happened upon: this is a fantastic time for lovers of animation. From the modern craft of Pixar's 3-D films to Miyazaki's traditionally animated PONYO and finally FANTASTIC MR. FOX, there is a lot to love about this age of animation.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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