Experiment 626 (which may, or may not be Stitch's real name) is an event embarked upon by the I'm With Geek Film Team. Film knowledge was unearthed, truths were found and a DVD exchange took place. These are the true life stories from that experiment...
To Jo from Matthew
My assignment for Experiment 626, round 2, was Jo. Jo's five favorite films listed were:
Despicable Me 2
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
I haven't seen Despicable Me 2, but I did see the first. I haven't seen any of the How To Train Your Dragon films, so that's a blank for me. I have seen everything else on the list, and after mulling it over for awhile, I reached a decision.
For Jo, I assign: Fantastic Mr. Fox.
This is Wes Anderson's take on a Roald Dahl book about a larcenous fox's struggles against cruel local farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean.
Fox is one of my favorites. The best thing about seeing it on its original theatrical release was the crowd of moms with their kids in the theater. See, people thought this was a kid's movie and brought their little sprouts, only to encounter a story of teen angst, midlife crisis and a meditation on survival. Sometimes you could barely see the screen for all the question marks floating around everyone's head.
It's a funny, quick-witted, charming (I mean really, really charming,) and sharp movie that never stops for breath. It's also a bit on the dark side, which all of Jo's selections seem to be. Like Despicable and Nightmare, Fantastic Mr. Fox couples animation with anti-heroes.
As a bonus, of the four Jo's picks I have seen, all of them revolve around a protagonist who is somehow involved in criminal (or unethical) activity. George Clooney's Mr. Fox will fit right in with Gru, Jack Skellington and Lisbeth Salander.
Tone, however, is another matter. I'll be interested to see how Jo reacts to Anderson's wry whimsy.
For Experiment 626 my film was chosen by Matthew. Matthew gave me Fantastic Mr Fox due to my love of misguided central characters and, of course, stop-motion animation. The film is also based on a well-known Roald Dahl classic.
The film centers around Mr Fox, (George Clooney) and his family as he dreams of a more lavish life. He moves his wife, (Meryl Streep) and son to a new house overlooking three notoriously mean farmers. Despite his pledge to his wife to give up bird stealing, he takes from each of the farmers. His scheming is realised by the farmers, whose evasive action drives Mr Fox and his family underground.
Directed by Wes Anderson, the film marks his first time directing an animated feature. Although the film is based on Dalh's story, Anderson has made minor alterations in charcter and plot.
As a story I think the film has a great concept. It has cute animals anthropomorphizing and a great battle aspect between animals and farmers. The characters are interesting but the issue I had with the film, like Matthew mentioned, was tone. Anderson is a director that although visually interests me, I find difficult to connect with. I find his work very monotone, so sadly I began to lose interest in the film midway.
The two leads in the film are voiced by Clooney and Streep. The major criticism of the film on release was that although based on a British classic the leads are played by Americans and the bad guys voiced by regional British actors. Although this is a cliche that I have become all too accustomed to in American produced films, it is rather distracting here. Still, Clooney lends his charisma to Mr Fox while Streep gives Mrs Fox a matriarchal edge.
Although the animation is enthralling and the source material brilliant, Wes Anderson's take on Fantastic Mr Fox is too monotone for my taste. His visual style is hard not to admire, but the film's lack of pace makes it not my sort of thing. Despite this, I'm glad I watched it and think it was a great choice for me. I will continue to watch Anderson's film to try and find one that I connect with.