1. Roald Dahl’s children’s book Fantastic Mr. Fox is about a fox named Mr. Fox who steals chickens and food from three farmers named Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. The farmers, fed up with Mr. Fox stealing food from them, attempt to dig out the fox’s hole with shovels and bulldozer. They then stand watch over Mr. Fox’s hole, planning to stay there forever, as he has to come out eventually to get food. However, Mr. Fox and the other hungry animals are able to outsmart the farmers, digging tunnels directly to their food sources rather than venturing on land to get it. The book ends as Mr. Fox and friends begin their feast, with the farmers still waiting above, seemingly forever as Mr. Fox has no reason to leave his hole now.
2. In the film Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox and his wife are caught in a fox trap in a prologue to the film, causing him to change his ways. From there, the film jumps ahead as Mr. Fox, his wife, and his son live a normal life, with Mr. Fox working as a newspaper columnist instead of scavenging all the time. When Mr. Fox moves into a nearby tree and goes out for food, he is seen and attacked by the three farmers, who destroy the tree and stand ready at the mouth of the foxhole. The animals move to the sewers, from where Mr. Fox’s son leads a daring rescue of his cousin as Mr. Fox tries to surrender to the angry farmers, earning the respect of the animals. Mr. Fox finds a direct route the supermarket owned by the three farmers, opening a way for the animals to get food without getting seen by the farmers at all.
3. The film adaptation of the book gives the film a more adult storyline; in the film a family drama plays out that makes the film more compelling to a wider audience. The film features the same basic plot–Mr. Fox is chased by the farmers, who stand watch to take the fox out; Mr. Fox eventually finds a direct route to a food source and never has to go above ground again to face the angry farmers. However, along the way a much different story takes place. Mr. Fox’s son Ash develops into a courageous, strong character, like his cousin Kristofferson. The animals show an aptitude to fight back against the farmers, something that is never done in the novel. The idea that Mr. Fox makes these decisions for his family is highlighted in the film as well; he takes a job in the beginning of the film and plans to turn himself over, almost certainly facing death, if it means his nephew will be returned.
This lengthy analysis of the film talked about the film showing us an autonomous, insular world the foxes and other small, “normal” animals live in. He points to the fact that Mr. Fox cannot communicate with the wolf in the film as an indicator that the world is insular and is restricted to the small animals Mr. Fox comes in contact with over the course of the film. The author also uses the Whackbat description to show how the fox world is autonomous–the game is described to the viewer via a diagram; the diagram makes no sense to the viewer and audience surrogate Kristofferson in that scene, but makes perfect sense to the coach explaining it.
This Vanity Fair article talked about how Anderson and his team created the stop-motion puppets for the movie, and his big inspiration for them–the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stop-motion films, rather than newer, smoother stop-motion creations.
This review of the film was aimed at parents with young children, so I read it to answer my critical analysis prompt. In her review, she points to the music and the colors used to offset the earth in scenes as vital parts to make the film vibrant.
5. Fantastic Mr. Fox adapts Roald Dahl’s novel into a film a different way than Cuaron’s Prisoner of Azkaban does: by creating new, older storylines for the film, rather than aging the characters or making the film more violent like Cuaron does. Anderson adds subplots to the film to make the film more of a family drama; Felicity is concerned for the well-being of her husband when the farmers attack, while Ash feels inadequate around his cousin Kristofferson. He also adds commentary on current issues today; the film tackles issues like bullying and appears to include a reference to big box stores or massive supermarkets as evil in the final scene, as the animals rejoice that they are able to steal from the huge store. The film’s introduction of these elements age the film to make it less of a children’s film, although it is done in a way that still makes it age-appropriate for children, as the film is still lighthearted and funny, unlike Harry Potter, which places its protagonists in scary, dark situations to remove that children’s film label.