movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: A fox’s tale…

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Thieving dad destroys community.

PEOPLE: Directed by Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore). Based on a book by Ronald Dahl (James And The Giant Peach). Starring the voices of George Clooney (Mr. Fox), Meryl Streep (Mrs. Fox), Jason Schwartzman as Ash (Funny People, Walk Hard, I Heart Huckabees, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Spun, Slackers, The Royal Tenenebaums), Bill Murray as Badger, Willem Defoe as Rat (Antichrist, Spider-Man), Owen Wilson as Coach Skip.

QUIRKS: A stop-motion animated movie about the adventures of a fox, and other animals in his community. An adventurous story of survival.

VISUALS: Stop-motion animation done in a kind of quaint fashion. The motion was NOT fluid; perhaps we’ve been spoiled by CGI. At first, it drove me crazy — I could see each individual frame; it reminded me of walking across a room using only a strobe light: You get separate frames, but never one continuous movement. I realized my TV was in an interlaced mode (1080i), and switched it to a progressive mode (1080p). The motion looked a bit better, or maybe we just got used to it. But the fact of the matter was: It was shot in 12 frames per second. Half film speed. And it shows. They did this to make us “aware” of stop-motion as a medium, which I think is a stupid idea and a justification for doing half the work. I’m thinking if Henry Selick hadn’t left the project, maybe things would have been a bit more fluid. He left it to work on Coraline, which did not have a 12fps jerky appearance.

That being said, that is my sole complaint. That they chose to animate in half-speed, like stop-motion of decades past. And you get used to it after the first few minutes. The film is actually fantastic (no pun intended) stop-motion animation, other than that one fatal flaw.

SOUNDTRACK: More interesting than most… Though I can’t help but think any use of “Old Man River” is kind of hackneyed. But there are also three songs sung by Burl Ives, famous for being Sam The Snowman in the 1964 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer stop-motion animation special, as well as voices in the 1976 First Easter Rabbit stop-motion animation special.

MORALS: Don’t steal, mmm’kay?

CONCLUSION: A unique and great story, told very well, with excellent stop-motion animation. What more can we ask for?

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.1/10, Netflix: 4.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.2/5 stars. Wrong! We rated higher than average!).

RECOMMENDATION: Animation-lovers should not skip over this simply because it’s also a childrens’ movie: It’s quite good as an adults’ movie too.

SIMILAR MOVIES: I can’t help but think of Chicken Run.

MOVIE QUOTE: Mr. Fox: Honey, I am seven fox years old. My father died at seven and a half. I don’t want to live in a hole anymore, and I’m going to do something about it.

Coach Skip: Basically, there’s three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners, and a player at Whackbat. Center tagger lights a pine cone and chucks it over the basket and the whack-batter tries to hit the cedar stick off the cross rock. Then the twig runners dash back and forth until the pine cone burns out and the umpire calls hotbox. Finally, you count up however many score-downs it adds up to and divide that by nine.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian loved it.

Mood: hungry
Music: Testament – Burnt Offerings