Fantastic Mister Fox is the most poisonous and insidious piece of misanthropic, animal rights propaganda PETA never wrote. Its politics more closely resemble that of a rabidly townie, leftist vegetarian who believes that property is theft, meat production a vile perversion and pest control a form of racist genocide, than of some lovably eccentric children’s author. So if Roald Dahl is turning in his grave at the very weird things Wes Anderson has done to his classic book, then part of me is kind of pleased.
Here’s the trailer:
Not remotely like the book, I think you’ll agree, despite the fact that – presumably out of a desire to channel Dahl’s spirit – Wes Anderson wrote the script in the author’s old writing hut. He’s turned it into a vulpine update of Oceans Eleven, for gawd’s sake. And, as per ruddy usual, all the baddies have been given English accents while the goodies speak with American ones. I wonder whether I can coax the kids into not wanting see this one and coming with me to see that apparently brilliant new war movie about bomb disposal teams in Iraq instead…
Then again, incredibly annoying though I now find Roald Dahl’s deeply dubious animal rights politics – which surface again in The Twits, by the way – I can’t honestly claim they’ll do the world’s impressionable youth any harm. When I was a child it was my favourite Dahl book – even more so than James And The Giant Peach, which had my name on it. I liked Mister Fox’s devil-may-care, neckerchief-sporting raffishness; I rejoiced in the naughtiness of his thefts from the repellant Boggis, Bunce and Bean; I was desperately upset when he lost his brush; and was overjoyed when he and his family made their narrow escape.
Never put me off foxhunting, though, did it?