Fantastic Mr. Fox

Though a stop-motion animation rather than the usual live action movie, here’s another Wes Anderson film that’s seemingly close to being universally praised to the high heavens and… well… I guess I quite like it but fall short of joining the wild, exuberant love-in. Adapting Roald Dahl’s children’s book with frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach, Anderson has made a bright, breezy, sweet and occasionally witty film that’s possibly intended for kids but probably holds greater appeal for adults, what with all those laconic, knowing voices cluttering up the soundtrack (usual drawly ensemble members such as Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody join stars George Clooney and Meryl Streep here). The mise en scène is never less than enthralling, with splendid, detailed sets that bring to mind the work of Aardman Studios, though all are arranged in a style that has become synonymous with this Texan director. Clooney and Streep deliver good performances and there’s not really much wrong with it – it even includes a song by Jarvis Cocker; it’s good, but yet again I find the cuteness and preciousness of Anderson’s work pleasing to the eye while simultaneously serving to keep me at arm’s length. (***½)