'Fantastic Mr. Fox' – movie review

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Roald Dahl's book 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' is turned into sophisticated puppetry complete with in-jokes and clever dialogue.

Fox Searchlight/AP
In this film publicity image released by Fox Searchlight films, the characters Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, left, and Mrs. Fox, voiced by Meryl Streep are shown in a scene from, "Fantastic Mr. Fox".

Roald Dahl's 1970 children's book "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is the second such classic to make it to the screen this season, the other being Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are." While not as original or deeply felt as the Spike Jonze film, the stop-motion animated "Fox" has its pleasures, foremost being its look – a sophisticated puppet primitivism backdropped by near-psychedelic colorations. George Clooney voices the dapper Mr. Fox, who leads a grab bag of critters on missions of plunder. Wes Anderson directed from a script he co-wrote with Noah Baumbach of the "Squid and the Whale" (who has moved on to foxes and opossums). Sometimes too clever by half, the film, replete with in-jokes, may in some ways work better for adults. Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and Jason Schwarztman also provide adept voice work. Grade: B+ (Rated PG for action, smoking, and slang humor.)

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