With the year wrapping up, many critics are making top ten lists and not surprisingly, Fantastic Mr. Fox is on a lot of them. The following is a listing of the films place on a number of lists, with the number and summary review included when available. Full list after the break.
We will continue to add listings as they appear.
David Denby, New Yorker
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”: The look of it is enchanting—intentionally creaky stop-motion with puppets posed against a crafts-fair mock-up of downtown Bath, England. A combined caper movie and art-history triumph.
Richard Corliss, Time
3. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Stop-motion animation is exacting, exhausting work: building puppets, placing them on a miniature stage and moving them one frame at a time — tens of thousands of times. Harder still is bringing insouciant life to this arduous process. That’s what director Wes Anderson and animation director Mark Gustafson managed in this delightful version of the Roald Dahl children’s classic about a dapper, larcenous fox (voiced by George Clooney) who aims to pull off one last, impossible heist. The vibe of Fox’s family is as comically tense as it is in families from earlier films by Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums) and co-writer Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale), but the brood soon bonds to reveal its foxiness and humanity. To this puckish, handsomely rendered comedy, add the meritorious work on Coraline, A Town Called Panic and the Wallace and Gromit short A Matter of Loaf and Death, and you had a banner year for stop-motion.
J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader, #9
Slant Magazine, Bill Weber
13. The Fantastic Mr. Fox. When has artisanal Hollywood craft expanded an established auteur’s world to such exhilarating effect as in The Fantastic Mr. Fox? Adapting Roald Dahl’s children’s book via stop-motion animation, Wes Anderson made the tale his own with trademark wry framing, retro pop-music cues, and characters’ heroic struggles with their primal identities (in the shadow of death) all intact. Whether using his new palette to map the Fox family’s burrowing escapes and raids or giving George Clooney the plum role of a well-intentioned patriarch whose guile and charm destabilize his tree-trunk domicile, Anderson’s brio is worthy of Fox sinking his teeth into a chicken’s neck. BW
Christy Lemire, Associated Press
7. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” – With its deadpan humor and minute details, this is a Wes Anderson movie through and through. But it’s also crammed with the kind of heart and humanity that have been missing from the director’s most recent offerings. That’s ironic, given that Anderson’s latest is a stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl’s illustrated children’s book about wily foxes. George Clooney’s smooth voice work is as good as his starring performance in “Up in the Air,” with Meryl Streep and Anderson pals Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman all excellent in supporting parts.
Glenn Kenny, #5
9.”Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009)
When it was announced that Wes Anderson would be tackling a stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, it seemed like an odd fit for a director who painstakingly crafted unique and highly personal worlds for each of his previous films. Leading up to the release of “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” comments from the animation team who worked with Anderson seemed to indicate that Anderson’s exacting commitment to his vision ruffled feathers, but in the end, the result is what counts. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is an enjoyable, refreshingly alive film that manages to reboot Anderson’s familiar themes of father/son dysfunction, misguided ambitions and elaborate revenge. Exquisitely designed and impeccably framed (there are some shots you just want to freeze so you can take in all the detail), there is no mistake that this is an Anderson picture through and through. Buoyed by great voice performances, particularly by George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman Meryl Streep, and charmingly old-school animation (particularly nice in this era of glossy digital works) “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is well, fantastic.
3. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson’s lovingly hand-crafted, stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox radiates pure joy. Taking its cues from George Clooney’s charming vocal performance as a dashing rogue of a fox who goes to war with a trio of nasty farmers after they destroy his family’s home and rob him of his tail, the film revels in language, music, dance, friendship, and family. It’s a film of dazzling verbosity and meticulous perfectionism, filled with loveable characters and quotable dialogue. Balancing its director’s trademark melancholy with irrepressible optimism, Anderson’s best film since The Royal Tenanbaums is nothing short of life-affirming.
Mahnola Dargis, The New York Times (unranked)
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
6. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Inspired by a jaunty picture book of the same name by Roald Dahl, exuberant miniaturist Wes Anderson brings a family of little handmade animal figurines to life via the finicky, old-fashioned, arts-and-crafts miracle of stop-motion animation. And magically, a family of foxes inhabits an exquisitely tended world of schemes, scams, and capers. The filmmaker balances his (usually) endearing tendency toward aesthetic obsession with an inspired lightness of storytelling touch. And I’ll be cussed if Anderson doesn’t pull the caper off.
7. Fantastic Mr. Fox
At last! Wes Anderson has finally made a whimsically stylized cartoon feature that isn’t inconvenienced by having real live actors in it. It might be going a bit too far to call Anderson’s slyly devilish animated caper the year’s great anti-Pixar fable. Yet by telling the tale of a fox and his friends with pretty painted backdrops, cotton balls for smoke, and stop-motion movements as herky-jerky as anything on Gumby, Anderson uses primitive analog magic to reinvent the innocence — and the surprise — of what an animated feature can be. In Fantastic Mr. Fox, we ooh and aah not at the wonder of technology but at the surreal imagination with which Anderson turns each frame into a jam-packed diorama of the everyday. And George Clooney, in his other great performance of the year, makes Mr. Fox a stand-in for every human creature who has ever felt a little too much like a wild animal.
Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, #6
David Edelstein, New York Magazine
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox and Coraline
Why choose among such stop-motion riches? In his hilarious Roald Dahl adaptation, Wes Anderson’s ultracomposed frames have never seemed so magically alive. And if Henry Selik makes some big boo-boos in adapting Neil Gaiman’s novel, the images are so exquisite and otherworldly that you’ll feel as if you’re floating through his dollhouse world along with the wide-eyed heroine.
Bernardo Rondeau, LACMA
6. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
Anderson’s diorama universe has never been more precisely appointed, but the quicksilver formalism and Hawksian rapport keep away any mold.
J. Hoberman, The Villiage Voice, tied for #12
Harry Knowles, Aint It Cool News
10. FANTASTIC MR FOX
We start with Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s THE FANTASTIC MR FOX. There is something instantly timeless about this film. The aesthetic of the Stop-Motion is completely counter to every theatrical stop-motion feature I’ve seen so far. The fluidity of animation isn’t quite there, but there’s a joy to the motion… and a subtlety to the colors, which just makes it all pop off the screen. I love how it feels so completely and utterly British, while still sounding American and looking a bit like the wonder of something starring Jean Paul Belmondo. It is an exquisite combination that makes this a film, that at least in my household, we’ll watch in and around Thanksgiving. It feels like a Thanksgiving story, doesn’t it?
Stephanie Zacharek, Salon – #2
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” — No movie gave me more pleasure this year than Wes Anderson’s stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s marvelously disreputable children’s novel, a picture made with so much care and love that it practically glows. And this is the Clooney performance of the year: His elegance and charm find a natural home in the body of a handsome, wily fox puppet.