Rating: Fantastic Mr Fox [DVD] 
In the beginning the dashing, non-conformist Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his wife Felicity (Meryl Streep) raid a squab (pidgeon) farm. After they get ensnared by a trap, Felicity makes her husband promise he’ll give up thievery if they make it out alive. After this alarming wake-up call, he takes up a steady job as a newspaper columnist, but he can’t suppress his wild leanings for long. Against the advice of his lawyer friend Badger (“You’re borrowing at nine-and-half per-cent, no fixed rate, and it’s in a neighbourhood totally unsuited to your species”), he moves the family into a large tree on a hill with a view overlooking Boggis, Bunce, and Bean’s farms, and soon sets about stealing and antagonizing them. This sets off a full-scale war that drives Mr. Fox, his family, and all the other neighbourhood animals deep underground.
Fox’s greedy and determined adversary, the factory farmer, Frank Bean (Michael Gambon), is a man that lives for the hunt. Bean won’t stop blasting a massive hole in the ground until he gets what he wants (and what he wants is Mr. Fox). Bean’s an angry man with access to what appears to be endless resources and manpower; whereas Mr. Fox simply depends on his animal cunning and home advantage. Alongside family and peers, Mr. Fox digs never-ending holes and tunnels. The scoundrel Bean spares no expense in attempting to flush him out. Guess who wins in the end.
‘On the prowl’ with Mr Fox
“Why did you do it?” asks his despairing wife. “I’m a wild animal,” Mr. Fox says drolly, as he stands on two legs, looking dapper in his corduroy suit. There is no malice here, he is doing what is in his nature, although without considering the emotional and practical consequences to those around him. Fantastic Mr. Fox makes an adventurous appeal to children of all ages, with its rules, made to be broken. Even a seeming interlude, the game of Whack-Bat, which plays like cricket on steroids, with flaming pinecones and obscure dashes around the playing field, actually presents an absurd picture of petty and barely comprehensible rules.
Director Wes Anderson and his talented team have created a thoroughly unorthodox stop-motion animation, visually rich with the autumn colouring and the different animal firs, as if in a permanent gentle breeze ( a result of handling between frames). In so many ways, Roald Dahl’s subversive ideas and love of life are fully realized, even in small scenes like those showing how the Foxes eat. But Dahl’s dark humour is also present in the smaller details. Faithful to the book, the confident, macho Mr. Fox succumbs to his former wild ways, relieving the farmers of their tasty birds.
Mr. Fox is a polished dancer, a raconteur. Our own smiles though, are as full of teeth as Mr. Fox‘s, hiding a tongue that is just as wild. Viewers of any age will gradually realize that the veneer of civility may be what some define as human, but how uncivilized has become humanity.
Mr. Fox is also a natural born thief, and his inevitable relapses are punchy metaphors for the wild side of life, cheap thrills, and easy living. Mrs. Fox knows his ways all too well . And even though she had her wild days as well, she confesses, “I love you, but I shouldn’t have married you..”
The film is undoubtedly an up-beat story of survival, selflessness, and happiness.