FANTASTIC MR. FOX
animated; screenplay by Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach, based on the book by Roald Dahl
directed by Wes Anderson
starring Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron
screenplay by Joe Penhall, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
directed by John Hillcoat
by Walter Chaw There's nothing much going on in Wes Anderson's stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox--which is a terrible shock, because there's generally so much going on in Anderson's and Dahl's respective canons. With Anderson's every attempt to infuse this piffle with his brand of Salinger-esque autumnal, familial melancholy registering as ever-so-slightly desperate, it strikes particularly pale in such close proximity to Spike Jonze's magnificent Where the Wild Things Are. Missing is the vein of emotionality that runs rich in Anderson's best films, the idiosyncrasies of his misfit family groups somehow rendered ordinary transplanted into foxes and opossums. I wonder if it isn't something to do with the idea that "cute" animation as a genre and not a medium has "quirk" as its bread and butter. More to the point, it probably has something to do with the fact that for all those charges of "pretentious" Anderson has collected over the course of a career, when you pile all of his pathos into a film that seems mainly interested in being adorable, they're actually deserved.