Based on the children’s novel by Roald Dahl of the same name, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop motion animated comedy that is equally quirky as it is clever. Dahl’s children’s books were a huge part of my childhood and I have very fond memories of them; Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970) was probably my favourite story of his, so I was excited to check out this film adaptation and hoped it would live up to my expectations. While this movie is rather different from the source material (at least to my recollection), it still proves to be fun entertainment that seems to be more targeted at adults than children.

Directed by Wes Anderson and starring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Michael Gambon, the movie had all the necessary talent to excel. I personally think Anderson did quite well adapting the original novel into a well written screenplay, keeping the heart of the book while also managing to provide a fresh new take. The voice acting was fantastic as well (to be expected with such a great cast) and I especially enjoyed Clooney’s voice performance as the titular character.

The plot itself was very entertaining while feeling nostalgic at the same time, and I could feel a lot of personality in the script which made it feel all the more special. There were a lot of new additions to the film that weren’t in the book, so it was interesting seeing how the story was going to progress. It was fun knowing the general direction the story was going to go, but still being surprised by new events and scenes.

Fantastic Mr. Fox was surprisingly a lot funnier than I had anticipated, filled with witty and sarcastic humour, and a ridiculously funny censorship of curse words (cuss this, cuss that!). Although this may seem like a children’s film, I would argue it’s the kind of film that is better enjoyed by adults. Animated films aren’t just for children! I feel like the story has a level of maturity and an exploration into themes like greed and pride that only adults can understand. The animation also isn’t particularly pretty or cute to look at, so for children, I can imagine the movie even coming across as kind of frightening.

Of course, I have to write about the visuals in the movie – the stop motion animation certainly makes Fantastic Mr. Fox very unique and different. I’ve always had an appreciation for stop motion artists because of the extra time and care it takes. No, stop motion isn’t smooth or refined, but its choppiness and imperfections always provide a certain flair and charm that can’t be replicated. I enjoyed the tackiness of the stop motion in Fantastic Mr. Fox and came to appreciate the sort of rough and scratchy feel of its design.

Although the film might feel simplistic in its story and design, there’s no doubt that a lot of care and effort was put into creating Fantastic Mr. Fox. I feel like they did Roald Dahl proud and created a film that matched his creativity and great storytelling. While I do think this movie may not be easily enjoyed by everyone, I personally had a good time and appreciated its uniqueness. I’ve decided to give Fantastic Mr. Fox a score of 7.5/10. After watching this movie, I now have an urge to revisit the book and take a walk down memory lane. It’s also crazy realizing this movie came out 13 years ago – I could’ve sworn I just heard about this movie coming out not too long ago!