Why Fantastic Mr. Fox Sucks

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Being a fan of animated films (and stop-motion animation, for that matter), I knew I had to check out Fantastic Mr. Fox (on Blu Ray DVD), which was nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2010 Oscars. There are few films such as this that I have anything bad to say about because so much care and preparation goes into them, and they rarely disappoint.

Within three minutes of watching, I knew I was in for a long, bumpy ride.

But how could that be? This film has earned nothing but praise. All the critics say Wes Anderson did a fantastic job.

Here’s why: Only those who get Wes Anderson humor went to see it. The rest of the world either didn’t consider seeing it, or were so disoriented after the first few minutes that they walked out of the theater. Those remaining sang its praises to the heavens for all to hear.

By the way, the film flopped at the box office, barely regaining its budget. While that’s not necessarily an indication of its quality, it should be considered because those who apparently don’t get Wes Anderson would trash it if they stuck around long enough to finish watching or even bothered to show up to the theater.

Here are some reasons I believe it sucked, which may be the same reasons why some people think it’s good:

  • Stop-motion animation is creepy. Parts of this film resembled a bad Saturday morning cartoon (particularly the parts where they are digging). It doesn’t matter how much time and care goes into its creation, the unnatural flow of movement is distracting and often sloppy.
  • I couldn’t figure out if this was a movie for kids. According to many Anderson fans, it’s not. Therefore, kids won’t ‘get it.’ In that case, it’s made for adults – but only those who like Wes Anderson since most stayed away from the theater.
  • The voice actors are bland, and sound as if they were reading without knowing they were being recorded. Yes, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and George Clooney were all bland. Great actors do not necessarily translate into good voice actors for animated characters. Anderson fans again will defend this and say it fit the style. To me that’s like dressing everyone up in plaid clothing and congratulating Anderson for great costumes.
  • We’re supposed to root for a fox who steals and kills chickens? Sure, the owners would kill ’em too, but seems strange that we’re supposed to like an ending where these rodents burrow their way into a grocery store and live happily ever after. At least in Ratatouille the rats make peace with the humans. There was nothing to be learned in this tale.
  • It starts off with “The Ballad of Davey Crockett”… because why? There are also Beach Boys songs in it (for a film about foxes stealing chickens), because why? The score, which was nominated for an Oscar, sounds like outtakes from Raising Arizona.

In the end, I felt as if I had just watched a film with its head up its own ass and heard nothing but applause. And that is why I’m writing this – I am extremely jealous of those who stayed clear of it altogether, and therefore weren’t qualified to pass judgment. Let the Anderson fans give it five stars, because apparently if you didn’t love it, you didn’t get it and shouldn’t have seen it.