January 18, 2010

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

A truly adorable and yet surprisingly sober family movie. Mr. Fox, a middle-aged father and husband, suffers a mid-life crisis. Instead of buying a convertible or having an affair, he returns to his youthful daredevil ways. Mr. Fox begins poaching poultry and piercing the pride of the local farmers. The three evil farmers swear vengeance against Mr. Fox. Forced from their homes, Mr. Fox, his family, and their wild subterranean neighbors are backed into a corner (literally) and must fight back.

Writer/director Wes Anderson, who drives me crazy with his fetishistic obsession with props and costumes, daddy issues, and overall twee-ness, has found a forum where these weaknesses are turned into strengths, or at least neutralized: animation.

His live-action movies, including The Royal Tenembaums and The Life Aquatic, are now much less insufferable, because now I will pretend I am watching stop-motion animated puppets, instead of Bill Murray and Owen Wilson and their stilted dialog.

Emily, Henry, and I saw TFMF on the Monday after MLK Day with a theater-ful of parents, babies, and young children, at the Arlington Capitol Theater's "Baby Friendly Movie" 1 p.m. matinee. I was pleasantly surprised that the young children were completely riveted by, and mostly silent during, the movie. Some babies cried occasionally, but not to the point where I could not follow the film. I was expecting to be entirely distracted. Instead, I had a great time.