Fantastic Mr. Fox (film)

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Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic mr fox.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWes Anderson
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onFantastic Mr Fox
by Roald Dahl
Music byAlexandre Desplat
CinematographyTristan Oliver
Edited byAndrew Weisblum
Distributed by20th Century Fox[2]
Release date
  • October 14, 2009 (2009-10-14) (London Film Festival)
  • November 13, 2009 (2009-11-13) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States[2]
Budget$40 million[3]
Box office$46.5 million[3]

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 American stop motion animated comedy film directed by Wes Anderson, based on Roald Dahl's 1970 children's novel of the same name. The film is about a fox who steals food at night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox's theft and try to kill him so they dig their way into the foxes' home. However, the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.

The film stars the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, and Owen Wilson. Fantastic Mr. Fox was Wes Anderson's first fully animated film and first film adaptation. Development on the project began in 2004 as a collaboration between Anderson and Henry Selick (who worked with Anderson on the 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) under Revolution Studios. In 2007, Revolution folded, Selick left to direct Coraline, and work on the film moved to 20th Century Fox. Production began in London in 2007. It was released on November 13, 2009, and has a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4] The film also received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score, but lost both to Up.


While raiding Berk's Squab Farm, Mr. Fox triggers a fox trap caging himself along with his wife Felicity. Felicity reveals to her husband that she is pregnant and pleads with him to find a safer job if they escape, and he agrees.

Two human years (12 fox years) later, the Foxes and their son Ash are living in a hole. Mr. Fox, now a newspaper columnist, moves the family into a better home inside a tree, ignoring the warnings of his lawyer, about how dangerous the area is for foxes due to its proximity to facilities run by three feared farmers: Boggis (a chicken farmer), Bunce (a duck and goose farmer) and Bean (a turkey and apple farmer).

Soon after the Foxes move in, Felicity's nephew, Kristofferson Silverfox, comes to live with them. Ash finds this situation intolerable; his cousin is superior to him at almost everything, and everyone is charmed by Kristofferson.

Longing for his days as a thief, Mr. Fox and his friend Kylie, an opossum, steal produce and poultry from all three farms for three straight nights. Angered, the farmers decide to kill Mr. Fox. They camp out near his home, and when Mr. Fox emerges, they open fire but only manage to shoot off his tail.

After demolishing the site of the tree while attempting to dig Mr. Fox out, they discover the Foxes have dug an escape tunnel. As the Foxes will have to surface for food and water, the farmers wait at the tunnel mouth. Underground, Felicity is upset that Mr. Fox returned to his thieving ways.

The group later encounters Badger and many other local animal residents whose homes have also been destroyed by the farmers. As the animals begin fearing starvation, Mr. Fox leads them on a digging expedition to tunnel to the three farms, robbing them.

While the other animals feast, Ash and Kristofferson begin to reconcile after Kristofferson defends Ash from a bully. The cousins return to Bean's farm, intending to reclaim the missing tail but Kristofferson gets captured.

Discovering that Mr. Fox has stolen their produce, the farmers and the fire chief flood the animals' tunnel network with some of Bean's cider, trapping the animals in the sewers.

Realizing that the farmers plan to use Kristofferson to lure him into an ambush, Mr. Fox heads to the surface to surrender, but returns when Rat, Bean's security guard, confronts the animals and attacks Ash and Felicity. A fight between Mr. Fox and Rat results in the latter being pushed into a generator, electrocuting him. Before dying, Rat reveals Kristofferson's location. Mr. Fox asks the farmers for a meeting in town near the sewer hub where he would surrender in exchange for Kristofferson's freedom.

The farmers prepare an ambush, but the animals, anticipating it, launch a counterattack that allows Mr. Fox, Ash, and Kylie to enter Bean's farm undetected. Ash frees Kristofferson and braves enemy fire to release a rabid hunt-dog to keep the farmers at bay, allowing the group to escape.

The animals soon settle into their new homes in the sewers, inviting any other animals to join them. Soon after, Fox raids a grocery store belonging to Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, where Felicity reveals she's pregnant again as the animals dance in the aisle.



Joe Roth and Revolution Studios bought the film rights to Fantastic Mr Fox in 2004. In 2006, Mark Mothersbaugh stated that he was working on the soundtrack.[5] Wes Anderson signed on as director with Henry Selick, who worked with Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, as animation director. Anderson stated that he signed on because Roald Dahl was one of his heroes.[6] Originally, Cate Blanchett was to voice Mrs. Fox, but she left the role for undisclosed reasons.[7]

The story the novel covers would amount to the second act of the film. Anderson added new scenes to serve for the film's beginning and end.[8] The new scenes precede Mr. Fox's plan to steal from the three farmers and follow the farmers' bulldozing of the hill, beginning with the flooding of the tunnel. Selick left the project, to work on the Neil Gaiman story Coraline in February 2006.[9] He was replaced by Mark Gustafson.[10] 20th Century Fox Animation became the project's home in October 2006 after Revolution folded.[11]

In September 2007, Anderson announced voice work would begin.[12] The director chose to record the voices outside rather than in a studio: "we went out in a forest, [..] went in an attic, [and] went in a stable. We went underground for some things. There was a great spontaneity in the recordings because of that."[10] The voices were recorded before any animation was done.[13]

Anderson said of the production design, "we want to use real trees and real sand, but it's all miniature."[12] Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl lived, has a major influence on the film's look.[6] The film mixes several forms of animation but consists primarily of stop motion.[11] Animation took place in London,[10] on Stage C at 3 Mills Studio and the puppets are created by Mackinnon & Saunders,[14] with Anderson directing the crew, many of whom animated Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.[15] Selick, who kept in contact with Anderson, said the director would act out scenes while in Paris and send them to the animators via iPhone.[16]


Fantastic Mr. Fox: Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedNovember 3, 2009
StudioStudio Guillaume Tell, Suresnes, France
Abbey Road Studios, London, England
GenreFilm score
Rock music
Soundtrack album
LabelABKCO Records
ProducerVarious artists
Wes Anderson film soundtrack albums chronology
The Darjeeling Limited: Original Soundtrack
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Original Soundtrack
Moonrise Kingdom (Original Soundtrack)
Singles from Fantastic Mr. Fox: Original Soundtrack
  1. "Fantastic Mr. Fox A.K.A. Petey's Song"
    Released: November 3, 2009
  2. "Fantastic Mr. Fox A.K.A. Petey's Song (Reprise)"
    Released: November 3, 2009

The score for the film was composed by Alexandre Desplat. Jarvis Cocker commented that he wrote "three, four" songs for the film, one of which was included on the soundtrack.[17] The soundtrack also contains a selection of songs by The Beach Boys, The Bobby Fuller Four, Burl Ives, Georges Delerue, The Rolling Stones, and other artists. A soundtrack album for the film was released on November 3, 2009. It contains the following tracks:[18]

Track listing[edit]

1."American Empirical Pictures" Alexandre Desplat0:15
2."The Ballad of Davy Crockett" (from Walt Disney's Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, 1955)George Bruns (music)
Thomas W. Blackburn (lyrics)
The Wellingtons1:40
3."Mr. Fox in the Fields" Alexandre Desplat1:03
4."Heroes and Villains" (from Smiley Smile, 1967)Brian Wilson, Van Dyke ParksThe Beach Boys3:37
5."Fooba Wooba John" (from Little White Duck, 1959)TraditionalBurl Ives1:07
6."Boggis, Bunce, and Bean" Alexandre Desplat0:51
7."Jimmy Squirrel and Co." Alexandre Desplat0:46
8."Love" (from Walt Disney Productions' Robin Hood, 1973)George Bruns (music)
Floyd Huddleston (lyrics)
Nancy Adams1:49
9."Buckeye Jim" (from Little White Duck, 1959)TraditionalBurl Ives1:19
10."High-Speed French Train" Alexandre Desplat1:26
11."Whack-Bat Majorette" Alexandre Desplat2:57
12."The Grey Goose" (from Little White Duck, 1959)TraditionalBurl Ives2:49
13."Bean's Secret Cider Cellar" Alexandre Desplat2:07
14."Une petite île" (from Two English Girls, 1971)Georges DelerueGeorges Delerue1:36
15."Street Fighting Man" (from Beggars Banquet, 1968)Mick Jagger, Keith RichardsThe Rolling Stones3:15
16."Fantastic Mr. Fox A.K.A. Petey's Song"Jarvis CockerJarvis Cocker1:21
17."Night and Day" (recorded 1946, released 1984 on Masters of Jazz)Cole PorterArt Tatum1:28
18."Kristofferson's Theme" Alexandre Desplat1:36
19."Just Another Dead Rat in a Garbage Pail (Behind a Chinese Restaurant)" Alexandre Desplat2:34
20."Le grand choral" (from Day for Night, 1973)Georges DelerueGeorges Delerue2:24
21."Great Harrowsford Square" Alexandre Desplat3:21
22."Stunt Expo 2004" Alexandre Desplat2:28
23."Canis Lupus" Alexandre Desplat1:16
24."Ol' Man River" (recorded 1968, released 2001 on Hawthorne, CA)Jerome Kern (music)
Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics)
The Beach Boys1:18
25."Let Her Dance" (single, 1965)Bobby FullerThe Bobby Fuller Four2:32
26."I Get Around" (from All Summer Long, 1964)Brian Wilson and Mike LoveThe Beach Boys2:12
27."Fantastic Mr. Fox A.K.A. Petey's Song (Reprise)"Jarvis CockerJarvis Cocker1:42
Total length:2:49


The film had its world premiere as the opening film of the 53rd edition of the London Film Festival on October 14, 2009.[19] 20th Century Fox released it theatrically on November 13, 2009. Fantastic Mr. Fox grossed $21,002,919 in the U.S., and $25,468,104 outside the U.S., making a total of $46,471,023 worldwide.[3] 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the DVD and Blu-ray on March 23, 2010.[20] The Criterion Collection released the film on Blu-ray and DVD on February 18, 2014.[21]

Fantastic Mr. Fox was made available on The Walt Disney Company's streaming service Disney+ on May 22, 2020.


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 240 reviews and an average rating of 7.92/10. The site's consensus states: "Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal – and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation."[4] The film also became the second highest-rated animated film in 2009 on the site, behind Up. On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 83% based on reviews from 34 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[22] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+ on scale of A to F.[23]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars. Ebert said that, like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, children may find some aspects of the film perplexing or scary, which he considered a positive element to a children's film.[24] A. O. Scott called Fantastic Mr. Fox "in some ways (Wes Anderson's) most fully realized and satisfying film. Once you adjust to its stop-and-start rhythms and its scruffy looks, you can appreciate its wit, its beauty and the sly gravity of its emotional undercurrents. The work done by the animation director, Mark Gustafson, by the director of photography, Tristan Oliver, and by the production designer, Nelson Lowry, shows amazing ingenuity and skill, and the music (by Alexandre Desplat, with the usual shuffle of well-chosen pop tunes, famous and obscure) is both eccentric and just right."[25] Devin D. O'Leary of Weekly Alibi called it "a one-of-a-kind family classic".[26]

According to Time, the film is "both a delightful amusement and a distillation of the filmmaker's essential playfulness"[27] and was one of the ten best films of the year.[28] Cosmo Landesman of The Sunday Times said "having a quirky auteur like Anderson make a children's film is a bit like David Byrne, of Talking Heads, recording an album of nursery rhymes produced by Brian Eno"; according to Landesman, "in style and sensibility, this is really a Wes Anderson film, with little Dahl. It's missing the darker elements that characterise Dahl's books. There you find the whiff of something nasty: child abuse, violence, misogyny. Gone, too, is any sense of danger. Even the farmers, who are made to look a touch evil, don't seem capable of it. We never feel the tension of watching the Fox family facing real peril. The film certainly has Americanized Dahl's story, and I don't mean the fact that the good animals have American accents and the baddies have British ones. It offers yet another celebration of difference and a lesson on the importance of being yourself. But it does leave you thinking: isn't it time that children's films put children first?"[29]

Amy Biancolli from the Houston Chronicle stated that "Anderson injects such charm and wit, such personality and nostalgia — evident in the old-school animation, storybook settings and pitch-perfect use of Burl Ives — that it's easy to forgive his self-conscious touches."[30]

Ann Hornaday from the Washington Post calls it a "self-consciously quirky movie that manages to be twee and ultra-hip at the same time, it qualifies as yet another wry, carefully composed bibelot in the cabinet of curios that defines the Anderson oeuvre."[31] Peter Howell from the Toronto Star stated that "[i]n an age when everything seems digital, computer-driven and as fake as instant coffee, more and more artists (Spike Jonze and John Lasseter among them) are embracing the old ways of vinyl records, hand-drawn cartoons and painstaking stop-motion character movements."[32] In 2011, Richard Corliss of TIME magazine named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".[33]


The film was nominated for the 2010 Critics Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature,[34] the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film,[35] the 2010 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Academy Award for Best Original Score;[36] but ultimately lost all the nominations to Up.

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result
Academy Awards March 7, 2010 Best Animated Feature Wes Anderson Nominated
Best Original Score Alexandre Desplat Nominated
Annie Awards February 6, 2010 Best Animated Feature Wes Anderson Nominated
Directing in a Feature Production Wes Anderson Nominated
Writing in a Feature Production Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Won
BAFTA Awards February 15, 2010 Best Original Music Alexandre Desplat Nominated
Best Animated Film Wes Anderson Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 15, 2010 Best Adapted Screenplay Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Nominated
Best Animated Feature Wes Anderson Nominated
Golden Globe Awards January 15, 2010 Best Animated Feature Wes Anderson Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle December 14, 2009 Best Picture Wes Anderson 3rd Place
Best Animated Film Wes Anderson Won
Best Director Wes Anderson 2nd Place
Best Actor George Clooney (also for ‘’Up in the Air’’) Won
Online Film Critics Society January 5, 2010 Best Adapted Screenplay Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Won
Best Animated Film Wes Anderson Nominated
Best Original Score Alexandre Desplat Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society December 15, 2009 Best Adapted Screenplay Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Won
Best Animated Film Wes Anderson Nominated
Best Original Score Alexandre Desplat Nominated
San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle December 14, 2009 Best Adapted Screenplay Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Won

It was also nominated for the Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics. Alexandre Desplat won Soundtrack Composer of the Year and World Soundtrack of the Year at the 2010 World Soundtrack Awards.[37] On January 14, 2010, the National Board of Review awarded Anderson a Special Filmmaking Achievement award.[38]

After giving his acceptance speech, the audio of the speech was used in a short animation of Anderson's character (Weasel) giving the speech, animated by Payton Curtis, a key stop-motion animator on the film.[39]


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External links[edit]