Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 27 mins

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Based on the much loved, best-selling children's book by Roald Dahl, this masterfully crafted stop-motion animation movie travels back and forth between the comic and the profound. Mr and Mrs Fox (Clooney and Streep) live an idyllic home life with their son Ash (Schwartzman) and visiting young nephew Kristopherson (Eric Anderson). But after 12 years, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr Fox’s wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground and with not enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers — Boggis, Bunce and Bean — who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr Fox at any cost.

Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep

Crew: Wes Anderson (Director), Tristan Oliver (Director of Photography), Alexandre Desplat (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Release Dates: 25 Nov 2009 (India)

Tagline: Based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl.

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Did you know? Though the cover of Ash's comic reads "white cape vs black dog" there is speculation that he is actually reading Art Spigelman's Maus, the pages inside are very similar in color and design to Maus, and a picture on the back is a direct image from the book itself. Read More
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as Mr. Fox
as Mrs. Fox
as Field Mouse
as Rabbit's Ex-Girlfriend
as Badger
as Action 12 Reporter
as Kristofferson
as Mrs. Bean
as Petey
as Linda Otter
as Rabbit
as Franklin Bean
as Coach Skip
as Squirrel Contractor
as Explosives Man
as Weasel
as Rat


First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director


Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Sound Effects Editor
Foley Artist


Key Animator


Production Designer

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Supervisor
Visual Effects Coordinator
Film Type:
Spoken Languages:
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby, DTS
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
1.85:1 (Flat)
Based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl.
Jason Schwartzman is The Muscle
Meryl Streep is The Brains Behind The Brains
Willem Dafoe is The Rotter
Michael Gambon is The Scoundrel
Owen Wilson is The Whistle-Blower
Wally Wolodarsky is The Lookout
Dig the life fantastic.
His life is fantastic... his wife is fantastic... his neighbors, not so fantastic.
This year, forget super... ignore incredible... it's all about fantastic.
Movie Connection(s):
Reference: Citizen Kane (English)
Factual Mistake
At the shooting, Boggis's double-barrel shotgun fires at least five times in quick succession without re-loading.

Bean's helicopter is clearly modeled off of the helicopter in Magnum, P.I. and has the exact same paint scheme when viewed in long shots. However, a close up shot of the pilot in the cockpit shows the frame of the front canopy to be painted yellow, whereas it should be red in that section.

In long-shots, there is a building between the second and third of the four silos on the Bean farm ("E" and "A"). In closer angles, the silos are equally spaced and the building is not readily visible.

Errors in Geography
The film is clearly set in England, according to Mr. Fox's morning paper and other clues. But the wolf's alpine backdrop is like something out of the Rocky Mountains, and Kiley is an American opossum--there are no opossums or any marsupial relatives native to Europe. On the wackbat-trophy's champion-list there is an "M.K. Silvery-Marmoset", a creature found only in very limited areas in Brazil.

Factual Mistake
When Latin names of the animals are displayed in the film they are not written in the correct format. "Latin" names, more correctly termed scientific names, are standardized within the scientific community worldwide and written in a specific format, e.g. Genus species with the genus capitalized, the species written in lowercase, and both written either in italics or simply underlined. The film shows both genus and species capitalized.

Character Error
Ash says he doesn't have a bandit hat but a modified tube sock, but the hat/sock he puts on has a clearly visible heel, identifying it as a crew, rather than a tube, sock.

Character Error
The rabid beagle's tag reads Canis familiaris, an obsolete classification. Tame dogs (familiaris) are now considered to be a subspecies of the wolf Canis lupus (which Fox correctly identified on the mountain), rather than their own species. Since news of species revisions travels slowly, it is realistic that not everyone has heard of the change.

When Mr. Fox looks out the tree's window and notices the distant Boggis, Bunce and Bean farms for the first time, they are lined up in that order left-to-right on hilltops. But when he later shows a map of the farms to Kiley, the Boggis farm is clearly situated between Bean and Bunce.

On Clive Badger's desk there is a single paper clip near the pen-holder. But in the reverse view on Mr. Fox, the paper clip is missing.

Frank Bean, inside a caravan, on the phone says "They took everything, let me call you back Petey." After a quick burst of anger he exits the caravan, and Petey is sitting right outside fixing a bike, without a phone (not that you'd talk to someone on the phone who is right outside anyway).

Early in the movie, Mr. Fox sits at the breakfast table with a newspaper. In it, he notices a picture of a tree for sale, which has landscape (horizontal) orientation. When he cuts the picture, he does so as if it was a portrait (vertical orientation). In the next scene, he holds the clipping up, and it is in landscape orientation again.
The voices were recorded at a farm house in Connecticut, which was owned by a friend of director Wes Anderson. Willem Dafoe's dialog, however, was recorded in Paris at a later date.

George Clooney's first starring role in animated film.

The gun held by Franklin Bean is an Artillery Luger, which is a rare German 9mm Luger produced in WWI and WWII that included an 8 inch barrel a removable stock and a 32 round drum magazine.

When Ash and Mr. Fox are in the sewer talking ash is sitting still staring down the viewer, this is what is commonly known as the "Kubrick stare" a technique developed by Stanley Kubrick and the director would often use it when a character had to be intimidating or unsettling.

The door in the science lab reads: "Co-ed, all species / ELEMENTARY CHEMISTRY / Grade: 6 ¾ / Miss Muskrat's Class".

When reciting the Latin names of each animal, Mr. Fox says he doesn't know the one for opossum. It is Didelphis virginiana.

The first animated film distributed by Regency Pictures, the first stop-motion animated film for 20th Century Fox, and the first animated film for Fox Searchlight Pictures since Waking Life (2001).

Development began in 2004 at Revolution Studios between Wes Anderson and animation director Henry Selick, who had worked with Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) (and who had directed another stop-motion animated film based on a Roald Dahl work, James and the Giant Peach (1996).) When Revolution folded, Selick left the project to direct Coraline (2009), and was replaced by Mark Gustafson.

Portions of the audio version of the book can be heard in the film. The music Bunce is listening to on headphones when Mr Fox first steals from his farm is the theme music from the audio book.

One of two films released in 2009 to feature a talking fox. The other was Lars von Trier's controversial Antichrist (2009). Both films feature actor Willem Dafoe.

Mr. Fox's wardrobe was based on Wes Anderson's own brown corduroy suits.

Wes Anderson's first family film. Although it still contains many of the trademarks of his live-action films, family dysfunction, colourful palettes, etc.

The human characters' hair was actual human hair collected from studio employees at MacKinnon & Saunders, the company that manufactured the puppets for the film.

It took 7 months to perfect the very first Mr. Fox puppet.

Ash's ear twitching was based on a gesture most foxes (and domestic canines)do to show aggression and/or displeasure.

Though the cover of Ash's comic reads "white cape vs black dog" there is speculation that he is actually reading Art Spigelman's Maus, the pages inside are very similar in color and design to Maus, and a picture on the back is a direct image from the book itself.

Rat's death was almost re-shot because the MPAA thought it showed rat bleeding to death and Mr. Fox made him drink his own blood. (it's actually all sewer sludge )

CGI is only used in one scene, the flooding of the flint mine.

In the original book humans and animals never directly interact with one other so it is never clear if they can understand each other, here they clearly can When Mr. Fox asks Bean if he brought the boy, Bean reply's and clearly understands him.

According to Henry Selick, Wes Anderson would act out scenes while in Paris and send them to the animators via his iPhone.

The characters seem to break the fourth wall by being able to read the title cards for each scene, Ash seems to know what Mr. fox and Kylie are up to from reading the title card for the scene, and Bunce seems to be reading the time card that says how long Mr. fox and his friends and family have gone without food or water, prompting to ask how long they can go without any.

The look of the film was inspired by Great Missenden, a village in Buckinghamshire, England, where Roald Dahl lived and worked. The tree where the Fox family lives is based on a prominent beech tree on Dahl's property, and Mr Fox's study recreates in minute detail the interior of the famous garden hut in which Dahl did most of his writing.

Film debut of chef Mario Batali, who voices Rabbit. Rabbit wears an orange neckerchief, which echoes Batali's penchant for wearing orange shorts and Crocs. On the Fox Searchlight website for the film, there was even a recipe made available, courtesy of Batali, for Mrs. Bean's Famous Nutmeg Ginger Apple Snaps.

Anderson wanted to use real animal hair for all of the animal puppets, even though it meant that the hair would appear to ripple unnaturally in the film due to the puppeteers handling the models between frames. This rippling was apparently intentional.

In the months preceding the opening of the film, controversy arose concerning the little time that director Wes Anderson actually spent on set, choosing to direct the animation via e-mail from his flat in Paris. In an October 2009 Los Angeles Times article, cinematographer Tristan Oliver was quoted as saying, "I think he's a little O.C.D. Contact with people disturbs him. This way, he can spend an entire day locked inside an empty room with a computer. He's a bit like The Wizard of Oz (1939). Behind the curtain." Informed of Oliver's discontent, Anderson said, "I would say that kind of crosses the line for what's appropriate for the director of photography to say behind the director's back while he's working on the movie. So I don't even want to respond to it." On the Wes Anderson fan website The Rushmore Academy (named after Anderson's film Rushmore (1998),) Oliver criticized the article's tone, stating that it made him out to be a villain: "Yes, working with Wes can be frustrating but that is true of any director and I've worked with a hundred who were more irritating and less motivated than Wes. So let's just lay the ghost of this particular myth and oh, it would be nice if the death threats stopped too. Thanks."

The film was critically acclaimed and even had a held over run from the Thanksgiving to the 2009 holiday season, but was not a huge hit financially, and and not all that popular with General audiences.

This is Wes Anderson's first film that did not feature one of his signature slow motion sequences.

The titles and text used in the production design are in Helvetica Bold. All previous Wes Anderson movies have utilized Futura Bold.

Mr. Fox's implanting of sleeping powder into blueberries for unsuspecting guard dogs to consume was taken from another Roald Dahl book, "Danny the Champion of the World", in which raisins were used similarly on unsuspecting pheasants. When the Dahl attorneys learned of this, they wanted it removed. But because it had already been filmed, Wes Anderson pleaded with them and was able to keep it in the film.

Wes Anderson chose to have the actors record their dialogue outside of a studio and on location to increase the naturalness: "We went out in a forest, went in an attic, went in a stable... we went underground for some things. There was a great spontaneity in the recordings because of that."

The color scheme of the movie is primarily autumnal (yellows, oranges, and browns) with virtually no green and blue. However, Kristofferson's blue-colored wardrobe was intentional, as it emphasized his being a visiting outsider.

The original story was written at a dark time in Roald Dahl's life. He had already lost one of his five children to measles and witnessed another one suffer from water on the brain as the result of a car accident. It was only natural that he would be spurred on to write a tale portraying the father as a protector of the family.

Shot digitally using a Nikon D3, which offers a significantly higher resolution than even that of full High Definition. It was also shot at a frame rate of 12 frames per second, rather than the more fluid 24, so that viewers would notice the medium of stop-motion itself.

Kristofferson's unaccompanied minor badge reads, "Name: Kristofferson Silverfox. Height: 42cm (tall - for a cub). Weight: 3.5kg. Allergies: None. Reason for travel: Ill father."

This movie is composed of almost 56,000 shots.

The last film to use the 20th Century Fox logo from 1994.

Altogether, 535 puppets were made for the film. Mr. Fox had 17 different styles alone, and each of Mr. Fox's styles had to be done in six different sizes. He has 102 puppets alone.

During one of the outdoor dialogue recording sessions, a best take was almost ruined by the sound of a nearby boat. Open to the randomness, Wes Anderson modified the scene in the film to include an airplane flying through the shot. Anderson said, "I think it was better with the airplane than without... a flaw in the recording gave us a new idea."

Roald Dahl allegedly fashioned Mr Fox after himself.

Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr. Fox" was the first book Wes Anderson owned. His mother, Texas Ann Burroughs, bought it for him at the St. Francis book fair in Austin, Texas when he was about seven years old. Anderson has kept this same copy on his bookshelf ever since.

Throughout the film, the word "cuss" is used in place of actual cursing. When asked about its origin in a radio interview on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, Wes Anderson said, "I don't even remember. It think it was just to use the concept of profanity as a replacement for profanity itself. It turned out to be very versatile." In keeping with this theme, one of the buildings seen in the film bears "CUSS" written as spray-painted graffiti.

According to Meryl Streep, when she was in London filming Mamma Mia! (2008) in summer 2007, she stayed in an apartment block in central London, and one night she noticed a fox out of her bathroom window. Both Streep and the fox, stone still, stared at each other for twelve minutes. Mesmerized by this experience, she used it as inspiration for her performance.