Fantastic Mr. Fox

Rated 5.0

Just when the cinema of Wes Anderson seemed hopelessly mired in cartoonish characterizations, he makes the glorious stop-motion animation Fantastic Mr. Fox, one of the most endearing films of the year. George Clooney voices Mr. Fox, a 9-to-5 chicken thief who buys into the animal kingdom’s version of a suburban dream (an above-ground home, a young pup, a job as a newspaper columnist). Many “fox years” later, he’s still itching for the dangerous life, and organizes a heist against three cruel farmers that puts his family in jeopardy. An adaptation of the Roald Dahl book, Fantastic Mr. Fox retains the author’s giddily grim sensibility, but meshes it with Anderson’s arch humor and clever plotting. The voice cast (including Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray) is spot-on, while the deceptively simple animation makes you feel giddy as a child.