As I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox and gradually sensed the darkness of the theater lose out to the autumn-colored, classy, stop motion shenanigans on screen, I began to accept that every silhouette in the audience—fat and small, rich and me—was dressed in ship-shape, semi-formal attire. I pictured moms silently imagining themselves speaking in snooty English accents and serving cups of Earl Grey. And kids ages five through nine on the verge of zzz’ing in handsome jackets of tweed and corduroy; mildly stimulated by what equates to a visually dazzling hipster Sunday School lesson taught with Adderall on its gums and Tryptophan in its belly.
In contrast to Spike Jonze‘s Where the Wild Things Are—itself a furry and visionary 2009 adaptation of a famous kid’s book about nonconformity—Wes Anderson‘s Fox focuses foremost on family via adult characters. Whereas Wild Things united male Eighties Babies with its look at psychological distress, a side effect birthed by so much of that decade’s parental divorce and separation, Fox unites families of the aughts with an increasingly rare and welcome air of sophistication. One is a film about adults-as-wild-animals suitable for families, the other is a film about a child amidst wild animals suitable for would-be adults.