“I think it’s time for me to give us a pep talk and explain some things.” This line, spoken after the fox family has spent an hour of frantic digging to escape the vengeful pursuing chicken farmers, kind of sums up not only the movie’s main character personality, but also gives a good picture of its strongest appeal. At least to me. The characters in this movie are so believable. I’ve known guys like Mr. Fox; the fella is just such a jerk, and everyone including him knows it. But he never meant to be a jerk… and for that reason you can’t help but want to forgive him all the trouble he creates. Everyone just sadly shrugs his overblown foibles off to the mantra that “it’s in his nature!” This outrageous cop-out doesn’t seem to interrupt the movie much, but gives the character a very human dimension. When you think about it, it’s really just plain wrong that he could jeopardize the welfare of his family and even his entire community just to feel like a fox, but it’s equally heartwarming when his wife and family keep loving him and just carry on, mistakes notwithstanding. I should point that it’s all Mr. Fox’s fault that the family is fleeing madly in danger of their lives, and that there is no subsequent pep talk or explanation of anything.
This stop-motion flick, directed by Wes Anderson, follows a story by Roald Dahl. Although billed as a family feature (and I’m not sure how else I’d label it), it doesn’t seem the kind of movie kids would really go for. It was almost dark, what with all the animals being nearly starved and the sleepy orange hue muffling every scene, but it was witty and personable. I think I wouldn’t have really gotten it as a twelve year old, but having known families and individuals in the situation that the Foxes get into, I found it very moving. I heard about it around Oscar time, and thought I’d watch it after all the positive talk- even the IMDb ratings were high (8.0 out of 10!) which is saying something- and I can tell you, it was certainly worthy of it.