Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
1. Analysis of the Book. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a children’s novel written by Roald Dahl and published in 1970. The book follows the events that transpire between Mr. Fox, his family, neighbors, and the farmers he steals from. It is a fable-like story of the farmer versus the fox. Like many of Dahl’s children’s books, the stories tend to be a little harsh and dark, but thoroughly enjoyable and well developed.
2. Analysis of the Film. The film is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book of the same name. It was released in 2009 and directed by Wes Anderson. The film is done using stop motion animation, and allows for the successful portrayal of the anthropomorphic animal characters. The film was well acclaimed critically, and the performances are well developed by a star studded cast.
3. Analysis of the Adaptation. It is a somewhat faithful adaptation in many ways, but makes many liberal additions to beef up the story in order to make its length suitable for a feature length film (the original novel was relatively short). Examples of changes made include an altered ending, and slightly skewed focus. The film adaptation does an outstanding job of presenting and developing the characters in the film through its use of stop motion animation to convey subtle emotional reactions. Oddly, the films heroes are played by Americans and the bad guys are played by Brits.
4. Online Research of the Film. The three online sources I found in relation to Fantastic Mr. Fox include:
http://www.novelstudies.org/downloads/Fantastic.pdf This site has a fairly extensive set of tools for lesson plans which may be used by teachers as a means of instruction. It’s a great, and fun, way to get a fairly basic background on the novel. It’s also got some fun ways to better gain insights into the entire story.
http://edwinzee.tumblr.com/post/12197494895/screenwriting-analysis-6-fantastic-mr-fox provides an excellent analysis of the screenwriting for the film.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-remington/fantastic-mr-fox-this-roa_b_396657.html This is an article from the Huffington Post which provides a number of useful points in analyzing the film.
5. Critical Analysis.
What does the film have to say about the conflict between individual fulfillment and societal expectations? Is Mr. Fox right in arguing that we need to make allowance for our animal nature? Is Mrs. Fox right in arguing that duty to family and community overrides personal desires?
A recurrent theme of the film is the need to incorporate or accommodate our wild animal nature (personal desires) in a useful way that positively contributes to social expectations, duty and family. The protagonist is inevitably unable to suppress his wild desires, and the result is his uncontrollable reflexive pilfering of the farmers. Eventually, he turns his compulsion into a positive advantage which aids the animal community, but only after bringing the same community to the brink of destruction. The point being that successful refocus of his creative energies could have had similar results without the danger wrought by his explosive counter repressive reactions. Mr. Fox is correct in arguing that duty to family and community overrides personal desire, but he also recognizes, whether overtly or subconsciously, that personal desire must be accommodated.