Animation doesn’t often make it onto the pages of the Sunday Afternoon Movie, but I simply couldn’t resist the charms of Wes Anderson’s take of the beloved Roald Dahl classic.
The books of Roald Dahl had a big impact on my young life, and chances are you have read and loved one of his many wonderful creations; James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine and The BFG. These books earned the Dahl millions of fans worldwide and he is still regarded as one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century.
I remember saving up several weeks worth of pocket money to buy a copy of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, the slightly more grown up short story collection showed me a darker side to Dahl’s writing.
Another of his other series of short stores Tales of the Unexpected was adapted into a long running TV show. The classic short story The Man From The South has been reworked numerous times, once by Alfred Hitchcock and it also served as the basis for Quentin Tarantino-directed segment of Four Rooms.
Many of his stories have yet to make it to the big or small screen, but three years ago writer/director Wes Anderson brought Fantastic Mr Fox to the big screen and Dahl himself would have been proud of the finished product.
In today’s age of CG kids movies by the truckload, a stop motion kids film is a hard sell and Anderson should be applauded for his efforts. The scruffy look and quirky tone truly fits the source material and treats it with respect.
The cast is made up from some of Anderson’s regular actors, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, and Mr Fox is voiced by the smooth as silk George Clooney. Meryl Streep is his formidable wife, Adrian Brody, Brain Cox and even Jarvis Cocker lend their voices to the movie.
In many ways this is the director’s most well rounded movie, not a bad compliment to pay considering his back catalogue and this was his first foray into animation. Whilst it wasn’t a box office hit, Fantastic Mr Fox is a loving adaptation that Dahl fans will adore and it makes for perfect viewing on a Sunday Afternoon.
“We’re all different… Him, especially. But there’s something kind of fantastic about that, isn’t there?”