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QUICK REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve wanted to review on here since I think 2013, and that is Fantastic Mr. Fox! So yeah I know this film is not new, it is from 2009 and I saw it in the cinema and I really liked it at the time and said to myself that I’d rewatch it again at some point. And yet even after buying the DVD around 5 or 6 years ago while at university I never got around to it just because of timing and being in the right mood. That being said, since 2014 I’ve really gotten into Wes Anderson’s films and with Isle of Dogs coming out tomorrow here in the UK I thought I’d rewatch my first Wes Anderson film and see if it still holds up.

The story for the film can be summed up as the following:

“The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.”

I like the story because it has a lot of layers, there is the main narrative that goes on throughout the film, but there are also a number subplots introduced that eventually come to a head as the film progresses and what I like is that all of these plot elements are character-driven, have significance and the payoff feeds back into the main plot. And for a film about animals dealing with dangerous humans, it introduces some interesting themes dealing with breaking habits, doing what you’re good at, living up to expectations, being different and a number of other elements that are easy to relate to. And it is presented in a story that has a strange, quirky and fast-paced nature to it, and it very funny on numerous occasions and comes at just the right point with incredible timing, however, it also has brilliant moments of seriousness, darker moments and slows down just enough to have these special moments between the main characters.

As for the characters they are all very fun, interesting and feel like well-rounded individuals even if they’re secondary characters. George Clooney is fabulous as Mr. Fox, Clooney brings his natural charm to this character who is charismatic, daring yet selfish and not fully aware of his actions. Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox is a strong, smart and caring woman, but is also very stern and doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Jason Schwartzman stands out as Ash Fox, I guessed Schwartzman in this role just because Ash reminded me of Max from Rushmore in the sense that Ash is another young man with personal issues that lead to awkward relationships with others, but here Ash is a lot younger and immature and his journey through the film is quite engaging despite his rude and insensitive nature. Bill Murray was delightful as Clive Badger and had some great moments with Mr. Fox, Willem Dafoe’s role as Rat was unexpected, funny and strange and Wallace Wolodarsky as Kylie was one of the most memorable characters due to his subdued yet hilarious nature. And finally, Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean made for a strong and memorable protagonist, Gambon has such a presence with his voice and puts it to good use in humourous and intimidating scenarios.

From a presentation point of view, the film’s incredible. Visually the film’s use of stop motion animation is fluid, stylish and unique. While stop motion has a certain type of movement due to the way it is created, this film goes a step further by presenting movement in a number of ways that looks like frames are missing, but the movement is dynamic, exaggerated and elastic giving them a great sense of charisma and realism at the same time. The choice of camera angles and the general cinematography looks like a mixture of a stage play, a normal film and old film techniques used during driving sequences. I also want to talk about the character models and set design, the models have such an intricate level of detail for the fur and clothing and the sets vary from being large or very small, but they are all well-crafted with a lot of attention to detail from the foreground to background material looking realistic but also stylised. It is elaborate, grand in scale and has such incredible scene transitions. The film score by Alexandre Desplat is wonderful and works very well in each scene it’s used in and the soundtrack is filled with a great variety of songs that really enhance the scenes they’re used in the way that only Anderson can pull off.

In conclusion, Fantastic Mr. Fox is still a wonderful film and perhaps foolishly I was surprised how well it held up after so many years. I may be biased as I really LOVE Wes Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, but even if I was to take that element out of the equation, the film is not a conventional animated kids film, but that’s why I love it. The film, it is fun, exciting, engaging, quirky and hilarious, and yet it also has an engaging story, with fully formed characters that you can understand and relate to. If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it especially if you like Wes Anderson films.

So have you seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and if so what did you think of it? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you in the next review, so until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for another new film review and this one comes in the form of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Now I’ve only watched two Wes Anderson films in the past and they were Fantastic Mr. Fox (really good) and more recently Moonrise Kingdom (brilliant), so I was really intrigued to see what this man was gonna do next and when I saw the trailers I thought it looked amazing. So after watching it today how do I think the film fared? Well read on and find out.

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Story:

“GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.”

The tale of this film is pretty interesting as it takes a non-liner approach and jumps between the present and the past where the primary meat of the film takes place. The themes in this film involves friendship, trust, love and vengeance among other things, it is all very entertaining, humourous and bizarre but never does it feel uninteresting thanks to some good pacing and energetic nature. The film doesn’t quite reach the emotional or funny levels of Moonrise Kingdom, but it really is good.

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When it comes to the cast the film is just filled to the maximum with talent left right and center and while not everyone gets a great deal of screen time, it is just nice to see their faces.

Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave H. is simply brilliant, he brings his natural charisma, charm and a lot of passion to the roll. Gustave H. has very high standards and expects nothing less of perfection, Fiennes is a man who can do no wrong in my eyes. Tony Revolori is great as Zero Moustafa, I really liked his moments of humour and he seemed to handle his scenes really well considering the more expressed cast around him. Adrien Brody as Dmitri is great, it is not that often when Brody takes on a more villainous role, but he looks amazing and has some really funny moments. Willem Dafoe has to be my favourite character as J.G. Jopling, the dude constantly looks moody and dodgy as hell, is so questionable and dangerous and I love Dafoe’s expression throughout the film. Jeff Goldblum is a nother great actor as Deputy Kovacs, I love the way this man spoke, he was smart, sophisticated, calm and innocent, but because it was Goldblum it is awesome.

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Saoirse Ronan is charming and pretty as Agatha and Tilda Swinton is just unrecognizable as Madame D., her dialogue Mathieu Amalric is good as Serge X., he was pretty good but I couldn’t remember his face for the life of me until I checked him out on IMDB and saw that he was that funny villain from Quantum of Solace. Jason Schwartzman continues to be really interesting as M. Jean, the guy is very lazy, but also very funny and it just the little things like his mannerisms that make me smile. Bill Murray as M. Ivan I was hoping to see a lot more of but he was still pretty cool. Other people that were good were Jude Law as Young Writer, F. Murray Abraham as Mr. Moustafa, Edward Norton as Inspector Henckels, Léa Seydoux as Clotilde, Owen Wilson as M. Chuck and Bob Balaban as M. Martin.

As for the presentation it is very good on both the visual and audio front. Visually just like Anderson’s other films it is one of the film’s best aspects. There is some interesting, dynamic and unconventional camera shots and sequences used with very close camera shots, tracking shots and the use of green screen and CGI that make the film so much more fictional than real, but strangely it still works. At points watching this film was like watching a live action version of Looney Tunes which was totally hilarious and nostalgic. The soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat is another highlight of the film as it fits with the random nature of the film having various songs for different scenarios.

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In conclusion The Grand Budapest Hotel is very good film full of charm, wit and touching moments sprinkled all over. While this isn’t my favourite Wes Anderson film, I definitely had a good time with it and I can easily recommend it because it is one of best films of the year so far.

Rating: 8/10

So what did you think of The Grand Budapest Hotel? Have you seen it or are you gonna see it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review yo. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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