The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 87 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English, English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Cantonese, Mandarin
Starring: Voices of: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Written by: Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach - Adapted from the book by Roald Dahl
Region Code: 1
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 23, 2010
"And so it begins"
In there-imagined classic family tale, Mr. and Mrs. Fox live a happy home life with their eccentric son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) and visiting nephew Kristopherson. That is until Mr. Fox slips into his sneaky, old ways and plots the greatest heist the animal world has ever seen. When mean old farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean join forces to surround Mr. Fox and his family, they don’t realize they are not dealing with any old fox – it’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and he has a fantastic master plan to save the day!
Adapted from the beloved children’s book by of the same name by Roald Dahl Fantastic Mr. Fox follows the misadventures of Mr. Fox, his wife Felicity, their son Ash, and nephew Kristofferson after Mr. Fox’s pilfering from three local farmers sets off a fervent search for him that ultimately comes to affect not only his family but many of the animals that commune in the area. The story begins with Mr. Fox (George Clooney) leading his wife Felicity (Streep) on a raiding mission of a squab farm when the two become caged in a trap set by the farm’s owner. Felicity reveals to Fox that she is pregnant and pleads with him to find a safer job should they escape. Two years later, the Foxes and their sullen son Ash (Jason Schwartzman), are living in a hole. Fox, now a newspaper columnist, decides to move the family into a better home in the base of a tree, ignoring the warnings of his lawyer Badger (Bill Murray). The tree is adjacent to three large farming facilities run by Walter Boggis, Nathan Bunce, and Franklin Bean. Soon after the Foxes move in, Felicity's nephew Kristofferson comes to live with them after his father has fallen ill. Ash finds this situation intolerable since seemingly everyone, including his own father, mentions the fact that his easy going and meditating cousin, is apparently superior to him in every way imaginable. Living so close to the three farms Fox finds temptation to great, and devises a master plan to steal from each of them but keeps it from Felicity. He enlists the help of an opossum, Kylie, the local maintenance guy and resident worrywart. The plan successfully comes off in three stages however the farmers, angered by the theft, call a meeting and come with up their own plan, which is to get rid of Mr. Fox by digging him out. As the farmers onslaught begins, the Fox’s tunnel their way underground and escape. In the process they run into Badger, and many of the other local animal residents whose homes have also been destroyed during the siege.
As the animals begin to fear starvation, Fox leads a digging expedition to the three nearby farms, robbing them clean of Boggis' chickens, Bunce's ducks and geese, and Bean's turkeys, apples, and alcoholic cider. In the meantime Ash and Kristofferson come up with the idea of breaking into Bean's farm, intending to reclaim Fox's tail (which had been shot off by Bean during the farmers initial attempt to kill Mr. Fox), only to find that Bean has taken to wearing it as a necktie. When they are interrupted by the arrival of Bean's wife, Ash escapes but Kristofferson is captured. The animals are forced to retreat into the sewers when the farmers flood their hiding place with cider, and Fox learns that the farmers plan to use Kristofferson as bait to lure him into an ambush. Mr. Fox will have to devise a master plan capable of saving the day and proving he is indeed Fantastic!
I enjoyed this film and loved the stop motion animation which truly is an amazing art form. Director Wes Anderson’s passion for the book, its author and the story is clearly evident. I think he captures the spirit of both very well by conveying it using a medium that helps to stimulate the imagination. It features a terrific cast of Hollywood notables headlined by George Clooney and Meryl Streep and includes contributions by Owen Wilson, Michael Gambon, Bill Murray, and Willem Dafoe. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score, was a nominated for 2010 Critics Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It ultimately lost all the nominations to Disney’s Up. Fantastic Mr. Fox makes for great family entertainment and looks splendid in high definition on Blu-ray from Fox.
The rating is for action, smoking, and slang humor.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Fantastic Mr. Fox comes to Blu-ray from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.6 mbps.
This is an excellent video presentation that boasts visually enticing imagery that looks great in high definition. Fantastic Mr. Fox on Blu-ray offers beautifully crafted stop motion animation that exhibits eye catching resolution and refined clarity. The shading and lighting used results in a dimensionally strong presentation that doesn’t exhibit dynamic contrast or deep penetrating hues. Colors utilize a limited and softer palette that is most decidedly a stylistic choice that mates well with the source in a satisfying way. Golden splashed highlights, sepia tones and beiges make up the majority of the color base with various stages of gray is used in various stages in both objects and backgrounds. Blacks are punchy and appear deep when onscreen with mixed content. Detail in shady areas and darkly lit backgrounds are excellent which enhances visual perspective in dim lighting. This is a pristine and visually engaging high definition presentation that looked amazing on my large screen. The lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is solid as well. Dynamics are defining without being strident or edgy. Dialogue is rendered with refined clarity and revealing tonal character that has deep room penetration. The presentation has a frontal perspective with a diffused soundstage and well articulated detail. There is occasional use of discrete and spatial surround activity that adds depth to environmental sounds and provides front channel extension that broadens the sound field. Bass response wasn’t room filling but it appropriately supported the source elements and provided a tight, occasionally tactile low end.
- (HD) Making Mr. Fox fantastic (5 segments totaling 43 minutes) :
- The look of Mr. Fox
- From script to screen
- The puppet makers
- Still life (puppet animation)
- The cast
- Bill (Murray) and his Badger
- (HD) A beginner’s guide to Whack-bat
- (HD) Fantastic Mr. Fox: The world or Roald Dahl – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Bonus DVD of Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Bonus Disc – Digital Copy of Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book Fantastic Mr. Fox successfully draws fans into the wondrous world of his characters and brings them to life using beautifully crafted stop-motion animation that makes for a visually stimulating experience in high definition. The bonus supplements will be more appealing to adult fans than kids as there is little offered for younger viewers to be enticed by. As always I appreciate the inclusion of both a digital copy and standard DVD versions of the film. Fantastic Mr. Fox is good family entertainment that presents extremely well in this Blu-ray offering from Fox. Recommended.
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