Fantastic Mr. Fox Do-Over Trailer Takes the Serious Route
Exactly two months ago, Fox Searchlight uncorked the first trailer for Wes Anderson's stop-motion adaptation of The Fantastic Mr. Fox. To say it failed would be kind; piling the cute, the twee, the bouncy and flouncy into one star-studded burst, the trailer condescended to young demographics and rekindled a wholly unnecessary pro-/anti-Anderson debate among adults. In short, it sold anything but the movie the filmmaker has spent two painstaking years lovingly crafting from scratch. It deserved better. But did it get it with the latest trailer?
Not especially, though in fairness to the studio's marketers, they seem to have taken Movieline's advice to try harder. Nevertheless, I don't know whether the initial trailer was for kids and this one is for grown-ups, or if Searchlight just can't effectively channel the obvious tone nuances here (or, worse yet, simply doesn't know what it has). This version introduces Mr. Fox to audiences as someone in sort of late-mid-life crisis, an average critter who's tired of settling for less and has determined to do something about it. These early declarations are each followed by a punchline that works with neither the score nor the earnestly narrated blurb "Wes Anderson creates a triumph in animated storytelling"; again, it looks great, but it doesn't feel quite right.
The rest is equally schizophrenic: Mr. Fox self-actualizing, joke, swelling strings, "Academy Award-winner George Clooney"... rinse and repeat for "Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep." Then lighten up a little for the home stretch culminating in Owen Wilson's mile-a-minute explanation of the game "Whack Bat," which might be funny if what preceded it didn't take itself so seriously. I don't doubt the film is complex, but must it really be this hard to distill that complexity for a working sales pitch?
Oh, who cares. We both by know that this is more appetite-whetting than anything else; you're on to this film, trailer be damned. But two trailers in, you have to admit it sure would be nice to anticipate it a little more.