Fantastic Mr. Fox

Voices by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Eric Anderson, Bill Murray | PG |

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  



ANIMATION

Just as Kevin Costner is at his best in baseball movies, so George Clooney is at his most roguishly appealing when playing accomplished thieves. Think Ocean's Eleven and Out of Sight, and now add Fantastic Mr. Fox to the list. In this delightful adaptation of a Roald Dahl children's book by director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums), Clooney saunters through vocally as Mr. Fox, a specialist at burgling chicken farms.

Mr. Fox is as sly, and as sartorially resplendent, a fox as you'll ever meet. At the behest of his eminently sensible wife (Streep, warmly wonderful), he reforms his thieving ways until temptation beckons in the form of three nearby farms filled with tasty delicacies. When the farmers retaliate, Mr. Fox must use his animal cunning to save his family and other furry friends.

This slender story is told with droll wit, clever staging and doll house charm thanks to Fox's use of old-fashioned, stop-motion animation. Fred, 9, my consultant on kids' films, leaned over every 10 minutes to whisper, "This is great!" He'll get no argument from me.

>Thanks to stop-motion animation–and a tiny, killer suitâ–George is officially a fox

THE FUR

"We punched in silver," says production designer Nelson Lowry, "[for] a little silver fox action."

THE SUIT

Cut from the same cloth as the fine corduroy suits made for director Wes Anderson.

THE VOICE

"When you hear [George], you cannot help but pose the puppet the same way," says puppet master Andy Gent.

>1 IT'S GENERIC

A silly, overblown disaster film about humanity facing extinction by earthquakes and tsunamis, 2012 is ploddingly predictable–and a long 2½ hours.

2 THERE GOES THE WHITE HOUSE. ZZZ.

Director-cowriter Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) again gleefully obliterates landmarks near and far, just because he can with CGI. Been there, destroyed that.

3 GORGONZOLA ISN'T THIS RIPE

With lines like "California is going down! Pack up the kids," star John Cusack can only hope that viewers won't hoot too harshly. Good luck with that.

> The British star, 37, gets all wet in the new end-of-the-world film–but admits to being skillful when it comes to diverting disaster at home.

HOW ARE YOUR SURVIVAL SKILLS?

When it comes to my kids [Ripley, 9, and Nico, 4], I could literally pick up a car because my protective instinct around them is fierce.

YOU GET SERIOUSLY SOAKED IN THIS MOVIE.

I spent a lot of time incredibly wet. I was fully clothed and submerged in a water tank for three days. It wasn't hard, but I'm a little girl about that sort of thing.

DO YOU ENJOY DOING YOUR OWN STUNTS?

I love to show off my girlpower! I'm willing to get physical, but I'm practical. [With] two kids, I don't want to risk injuring myself.

HOW DO YOU PUT OUT FIRES AT HOME INVOLVING YOUR KIDS?

I absolutely don't believe in punishment. We always talk about our problems. I don't care how long it takes, we just talk it through. Otherwise it just escalates.

MOTHERHOOD VS. STUNTWORK: WHICH IS TOUGHER?

There is no comparison! I absolutely love acting, but being a mother is the greatest role and challenge. It never stops, but the satisfaction and the joy I get from it make the effort tiny.

>In this amusing if slight comedy, a ship anchored off England's coast is the base station for broadcasting illegal rock radio back to enthusiastic British listeners in the mid-'60s. Here's to its mighty crew:

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN has a grand time portraying the ship's sole American DJ, who knows life may never get better than this.

BILL NIGHY, a resplendent peacock in swinging '60s finery, silkily plays a savvy businessman who toils mightily to keep the ship afloat.

EMMA THOMPSON, who clambers aboard for only a few scenes, is a hoot as an aging hot tomato with more than one former beau on deck.

RHYS IFANS shows up to add comic punch as a wildman veteran DJ whose passion for rock is exceeded only by his passion for the ladies.

>WATCH THIS

Boldly going where a beloved late-'60s TV sci-fi series and 10 films have gone before, this frisky Star Trek reboot by director J.J. Abrams, now on DVD, is galaxy-size fun. Brimming with engaging young stars (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho and Zoe Saldana), action and humor, it's the ultimate Enterprise origin story.

> Playing a social worker in the gritty drama Precious, singer Mariah Carey, 40, ditches her glitzy look–and signature heels.

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FIRST LOOKED IN THE MIRROR?

I felt completely rancid. But no one has said, "Girl, I can't believe you're there with those dark circles under your eyes and wearing a wig and looking nasty!" [Husband Nick Cannon's] response was over-the-top supportive.

WAS DEGLAMMING A LIBERATING EXPERIENCE?

Liberating ... and it humiliated me. But I needed that. With the music industry, it's "Oh, she's got a hair out of place! Go fix it!"

HOW'D YOU TALK YOURSELF INTO IT?

[The director] said, "You're going to need to let me make you under, over and over again." So I said, "Let me peel away layers of who the world thinks I am, who I think I am ... and truly become this woman."

WHICH VERSION OF YOU IS CLOSEST TO THE REAL MARIAH?

At home, I like to go downstairs in my pajamas and sing. There's no hairdos and none of that.

>Thanks to stop-motion animation—and a tiny, killer suit—George is officially a fox

THE FUR

"We punched in silver," says production designer Nelson Lowry, "[for] a little silver fox action."

THE SUIT

Cut from the same cloth as the fine corduroy suits made for director Wes Anderson.

THE VOICE

"When you hear [George], you cannot help but pose the puppet the same way," says puppet master Andy Gent.

>1 IT'S GENERIC

A silly, overblown disaster film about humanity facing extinction by earthquakes and tsunamis, 2012 is ploddingly predictable—and a long 2½ hours.

2 THERE GOES THE WHITE HOUSE. ZZZ.

Director-cowriter Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) again gleefully obliterates landmarks near and far, just because he can with CGI. Been there, destroyed that.

3 GORGONZOLA ISN'T THIS RIPE

With lines like "California is going down! Pack up the kids," star John Cusack can only hope that viewers won't hoot too harshly. Good luck with that.

>• The British star, 37, gets all wet in the new end-of-the-world film—but admits to being skillful when it comes to diverting disaster at home.

HOW ARE YOUR SURVIVAL SKILLS?

When it comes to my kids [Ripley, 9, and Nico, 4], I could literally pick up a car because my protective instinct around them is fierce.

YOU GET SERIOUSLY SOAKED IN THIS MOVIE.

I spent a lot of time incredibly wet. I was fully clothed and submerged in a water tank for three days. It wasn't hard, but I'm a little girl about that sort of thing.

DO YOU ENJOY DOING YOUR OWN STUNTS?

I love to show off my girlpower! I'm willing to get physical, but I'm practical. [With] two kids, I don't want to risk injuring myself.

HOW DO YOU PUT OUT FIRES AT HOME INVOLVING YOUR KIDS?

I absolutely don't believe in punishment. We always talk about our problems. I don't care how long it takes, we just talk it through. Otherwise it just escalates.

MOTHERHOOD VS. STUNTWORK: WHICH IS TOUGHER?

There is no comparison! I absolutely love acting, but being a mother is the greatest role and challenge. It never stops, but the satisfaction and the joy I get from it make the effort tiny.

>In this amusing if slight comedy, a ship anchored off England's coast is the base station for broadcasting illegal rock radio back to enthusiastic British listeners in the mid-'60s. Here's to its mighty crew:

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN has a grand time portraying the ship's sole American DJ, who knows life may never get better than this.

BILL NIGHY, a resplendent peacock in swinging '60s finery, silkily plays a savvy businessman who toils mightily to keep the ship afloat.

EMMA THOMPSON, who clambers aboard for only a few scenes, is a hoot as an aging hot tomato with more than one former beau on deck.

RHYS IFANS shows up to add comic punch as a wildman veteran DJ whose passion for rock is exceeded only by his passion for the ladies.

>WATCH THIS

Boldly going where a beloved late-'60s TV sci-fi series and 10 films have gone before, this frisky Star Trek reboot by director J.J. Abrams, now on DVD, is galaxy-size fun. Brimming with engaging young stars (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho and Zoe Saldana), action and humor, it's the ultimate Enterprise origin story.

>• Playing a social worker in the gritty drama Precious, singer Mariah Carey, 40, ditches her glitzy look—and signature heels.

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FIRST LOOKED IN THE MIRROR?

I felt completely rancid. But no one has said, "Girl, I can't believe you're there with those dark circles under your eyes and wearing a wig and looking nasty!" [Husband Nick Cannon's] response was over-the-top supportive.

WAS DEGLAMMING A LIBERATING EXPERIENCE?

Liberating ... and it humiliated me. But I needed that. With the music industry, it's "Oh, she's got a hair out of place! Go fix it!"

HOW'D YOU TALK YOURSELF INTO IT?

[The director] said, "You're going to need to let me make you under, over and over again." So I said, "Let me peel away layers of who the world thinks I am, who I think I am ... and truly become this woman."

WHICH VERSION OF YOU IS CLOSEST TO THE REAL MARIAH?

At home, I like to go downstairs in my pajamas and sing. There's no hairdos and none of that.