Like many film fans, I have something of a complicated relationship with Wes Anderson
's movies. While I love that they have a strong individual viewpoint that is unlike any other filmmakers' and is far from the norm, at the same time, they can be sort of...well...whiny.
To illustrate with his older films, I would say that The Royal Tenenbaums
was a smashing, story-book-like portrait of a profoundly dysfunctional family, each member with his or her own fantastical, intricate back history covered in full-on idiosyncratic detail. This, I loved.
Then, there's what I consider one of his lows: The Darjeeling Limited
, which I wrote about here
. To sum up though, in that film the self absorption of the characters and the overly labored acting and plot were total turn offs.
Anyway, I went to see his newest film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox
, and was completely re-energized! It was an explosion of preciousness and warmth, from the carefully designed outfits on the puppets (corduroy suits and apple printed dresses) to the beauty of the Fox family's dollhouse-like home in a tree. The characters are darling puppets, yet they are each as multi- faceted and original as any others you've seen at the movies. This film takes Anderson's strengths -- his detail orientation and sense of whimsy (god, I hate that word, though it is apt here!) -- and plays them out to perfection. Oh yeah, and I enjoyed t
he Beach Boys
saturated sound track. It seems like it wouldn't work at all...but it does, and just adds to the charm.