The Fantastic Mr. Fox Trailer: Who's to Blame For This?

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In basic Trailer 101 terms, the new spot for The Fantastic Mr. Fox -- Wes Anderson's animated adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl novel -- does almost everything it's supposed to do: Lists the great voice cast (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray), showcases its unusual style in concert with Anderson's trademark dryness, and spiritedly, economically lays out a concise plot summary. So why do I feel like running away from it and the movie it's trying to sell?

Maybe it's because I feel like I'm in on Anderson's enduringly ironic tone yet I'm being narrated to like a child. ("This fall! Forget super! Ignore incredible! It's all about fantastic!!") Maybe it's the canned, mismatched musical accompaniment, from the first half's generic indie jangle to the R&B soundtrack clashing with the intimate dialogue toward the end. Maybe it's the disconnection of most of the images -- some of which do look inarguably great -- from any narrative context. (To wit, what's with all the dancing? And why is there a lab?) Maybe it's the radical shifts from cute to sexy to heavy to light to funny to "look how postmodern we are" winkiness. Or maybe it's just that it feels like the same old bundle of Andersonesque twee that the culture has been lugging around for the last decade.

And the worst part? The movie itself may be great -- just the right kind of risk-taking diversion Anderson's critics have been demanding all this time. Look at Mr. Fox's subtle slumping gesture when Badger cries out his expertise in explosives, and say Anderson and his animators weren't paying attention. But for everything that looks like it went into the film, how can 20th Century Fox not take the same meticulous care in cultivating its audience? I thought that was the point of trailers. (See: Serious Man, A) Sigh. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was anything but a letdown like this.

VERDICT: Try again, Fox -- and harder.




Comments

  • I am excited for this because of how weird and unpolished it looks.

  • Arvin says:

    I agree. I wasn't particularly excited about this from the first things I'd seen and read despite being a fan of both stop motion and Wes Anderson, but it wasn't anywhere near too precious (at least past its source material... I love how it actually resembles Richard Scarry). But otherwise I love how everything looks so... I dunno, scratchy. I can feel the fingers of the animators in each frame, something that can't be said for Henry Selick's latest works, which seem so polished they instead look like stilted CGI, instead of something concrete.
    And luckily this seems to contain none of the acidity of recent Wes Anderson scripts, while retaining a lot of its childlike curiosity. It'll be an interesting palate cleanser from the also hopefully awesome Where the Wild Things Are.
    But look, it's not perfect. The voices are so generic for the most part, especially the leads. They just don't match the whimsy of the look and feel of the film in general.

  • I think your first mistake is assuming an ironic tone because that's what you've come to expect from Anderson. This feels more purely honest in some ways than anything he's done in awhile.
    The distancing hipsterism is stripped away and all that's left is a childlike glee.
    I could do without the narration, but that won't be in the movie. Everything that's actually from the movie is terrific.

  • Katie says:

    Positively yiffy
    It's about time the AnthroCon and Pitchfork Fest crowds merged

  • Jessica says:

    I have to agree with you on the trailer and how Fox is selling it like a kid's movie. Albeit, it is a kid's movie, but it's a WES ANDERSON kid's movie. Get the guy who VO-ed The Royal Tenenbaums or The Life Aquatic, change up the script, and maybe change the "from the author of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to "From the author ROALD DAHL" and you have yourself a true Wes Anderson trailer. However, I have no doubt this will be great.

  • Strepsi says:

    I think the issue is that they got Clooney and made it an "Ocean's" satire. The book was so 100% British! Hugh Laurie and Jennifer Saunders and Rowan Atkinson should have voiced it.
    Anyhoo, I really want to see it for free on TV some Thanksgiving in the future. It's that kind of film.

  • Jeebus says:

    I can think of one social group of people that will be definitely seeing this. And ^ Katie ^ I know what youre talking about :P

  • MA says:

    I think between this and Wild Things there are gonna be a lot of ironically detached hipsters who're gonna have to ironically detach themselves from actually liking the movies they're so primed to love.
    Call it a hunch; hope I'm wrong.

  • disappointed says:

    Those characters look hideous. This looks like something done by a bunch of kids in their basement

  • JudgeFudge says:

    Wes Anderson's Wet Dreams now invlove a Fantastic Mr. Fox Float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

  • LizzieLemonic says:

    @Ma - nailed it. As an early Wes Anderson admirer, it pains me to say it, but he appears to be largely responsible for this bullshit phase of culture. Enough with the ironic detachment!! It was getting old and unbrilliant the 3rd time and now we're on the 5,000th iteration of this meme in film and music. Yes,we get it, you are awkward, you are apathetic...but you just want to LIVE, quirkily! But whatever, if the goal is somehow to make me gag and keep driving my family deeper into the arms of Disney & the Jonas Brothers' every enterprise, it's surely working. I'm sure we'll check it out, but I'm annoyed with the self-centered hipster pandering of this AND Where the Wild Things Are. But at least it's a nice reminder that my daughter is just about ready to start having Roald Dahl books read to her (I still cannot believe that trailer said "the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...oh...my...GOD. How stupid are we supposed to be now? Insulting.)

  • rhea says:

    No probs with the animation technique. The colors are muted and not as cheerful as what children movies are supposed to be. My biggest gripe: George Clooney and Meryl (or is that Kate). Whatevs. Sounded like Ocean's Eleven.
    I'm actually looking forward to this, nevermind the old-school stop-mo animation, but the dialogues must be super emo-fun.

  • [...] have a new DVD release this week. The two last worked together on Anderson’s gorgeous and witty Fantastic Mr. Fox, and their idiosyncratic proclivities and points of view are very much on display at both ends of [...]

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