15 March 2010

Fantastic Mr Fox

So here's the thing - I don't really like Wes Anderson movies. I don't particularly remember Bottle Rocket; maybe I liked that one. I hated Rushmore the first time I saw it, and after seeing it a few more times thought maybe it might be ok. I didn't like Life Aquatic or Royal Tenenbaums, and I straight HATED Darjeeling Limited. But I love Roald Dahl, so I figured, hey, let's give it a shot. And for the first hour, it was actually really good. The animation is neat, the characters are wonderful, the plot was pretty good - everything was fine. And then it became less and less a Dahl story and more and more a Wes Anderson story. At first it was ok, kind of cute and clever, and then it became increasingly annoying, and then I got totally fed up and thought GOD WES ANDERSON DON'T YOU REALIZE YOU'RE A PARODY OF YOURSELF AT THIS POINT?!?

Still, there were moments of beauty, even towards the end. There's a scene with a wolf that's really wonderful. Overall though, yeah. Anderson ruins it by being so very Anderson. I have absolutely no sympathy for his vision of the world. Learning, at the end, that the movie was co-written by Noah Baumbach, who also wrote The Squid and the Whale (which I also didn't like) made perfect sense. Both men share this vision of the world in which people are self-centered, inconsiderate jerks, and we're supposed to find some kind of touching beauty in the way they interact with each other. So when Ash, who has been an absolutely vicious shit towards his cousin for most of the movie (because his parents are sort of casually oblivious to his feelings, is the implication) finally apologizes, and his cousin forgives him, I guess we're supposed to feel warm and fuzzy. Me, watching people like that, I just feel completely numb emotionally. I hate all of these characters, and I don't especially care what happens to them.

That's an extremely negative spin on it though - like I said, I actually enjoyed a lot of the movie. As far as Wes Anderson goes, it's definitely a cut above. But ultimately, yeah, no so much.

Oh, actually, one more thing - while watching it, I was thinking about how it stacks up against Where the Wild Things Are (which I also sort of liked and sort of didn't). In a way, they're quite similar. It's this whole group of dudes who have this vision of the world that involves fetishizing childhood in a way, but also transplanting some of the grossness of the adult world onto it. I like Spike Jonze's version most, but still, I see Anderson, Eggers, and Jonze as all being just kind of wrong about the world.

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