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Ever since WILLY WONKA (1971) came out, there have been filmmakers wanting to adapt the stories of Roald Dahl. 2009’s THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX is Wes Anderson’s contribution to this canon, and perhaps the closest to ‘Willy Wonka’ in terms of visionary success. Part of the appeal of Dahl’s stories is that they carry darker notes than you might expect for kid’s fare. Written in 1970, ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’ is one of his more lighthearted, telling of a community of animals who, being hunted by some mean farmers, cooperate to overcome their mutual problem. Wes Anderson chose to render this tale using stop-motion, much as Henry Selick did in 1996’s JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. Anderson, however, achieves fuller embodiment of the characters, partly by assembling a stellar cast of voice actors (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Willem Dafoe to name a few) and partly through clever use of his color, motion, and music palette. As with many Anderson films, the audience is required to make some effort in order to enter the filmmaker’s vision. ‘Fox’ plays fast, somewhat in the style of early black and white comedies. Also, some of the story contrivance can feel strained to an adult, but hey, it’s for kids, and a little forbearance is well worth it to appreciate this unusual gem which plays a double-feature bill with Anderson’s recent award-winner MOONRISE KINGDOM.

@BRATTLE // $10 // Saturday 3/1, 1:00pm & 5:00pm

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