InTrans / Jul 14, 2016
Claymation transportation: Fantastic Mr. Fox
posted on July 14, 2016
In the world of claymation, transportation isn’t just for humans.
Wes Anderson’s film Fantastic Mr. Fox explores the life and times of Foxy Fox, whose story is loosely based on the 1970 novel Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl.
Mr. Fox lives with his wife, Felicity, and his son, Ash. Mr. Fox writes columns in the newspaper, but when his family moves into a tree across from the “meanest, nastiest, ugliest farmers” in the history of the valley, he bites off more than he can chew.
Mr. Fox can’t help but slip back into his old, thieving ways, and plots to raid the farmers, stealing away their hens, turkeys, and “liquid gold” cider. He is nearly caught by the meanest farmer of them all, and the animals in the valley are forced to team up to fight the farmers’ retaliation.
So, what’s claymation?
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a clay animation, or “claymation” movie, that uses clay figurines and stop-motion photography to produce lifelike movement. The movie was released in November 2009.
To create Fantastic Mr. Fox, the production crew had to craft and capture about 125,000 individual pictures and then string them together to create the moving film. Every second in the film is made up from about 24 individual shots.
Mr. Fox gets his friends into some sticky situations, and eventually, uses the help of transportation to save the day.
But the heroic stunt scene at the end of the movie isn’t the only time Mr. Fox finds the need for transportation. In the beginning of the movie, Foxy and his family move into their new tree with the help of some squirrel movers and their moving truck.
Anderson uses transportation again to decorate Mr. Fox’s home. In Ash’s bedroom, there hangs a toy plane from the ceiling near his bedside. On the floor, Ash has a toy model of a train, which he turns on to help calm his visiting cousin.
Then, the audience sees a similar train, although much larger, outside Foxy’s tree, circling the valley in between his home and the farmers’ across the large field. The train isn’t necessarily an important part of this plot, but it’s interesting to note that trains are a recurring motif in Anderson’s storylines.
Of course, the townspeople in the movie need transportation, too.
To combat Mr. Fox and his thieving ways, the farmers devise a plan to catch Mr. Fox. In a desperate attempt to find where Mr. Fox and his family are hiding, the meanest, nastiest farmer orders three “terrible tractors” to dig the fox out.
Then, as the plot thickens, the storyline takes the audience to the town where the townspeople reside. The town is decorated with clay transportation of its own including a news van, cars, motorcycles, and even a helicopter that’s used to find Mr. Fox.
But perhaps the best mode of transportation is saved for last, when Mr. Fox acts on his plan to save what’s been stolen from him. Mr. Fox uses a small, two-wheeled, fox-sized motorcycle—equipped with an old-fashioned sidecar—to ride into the storm and finish his “go for broke” rescue mission.
To find out what happens to Foxy Fox—and to see if his motorcycle is enough to save the day—check out Fantastic Mr. Fox with your family and friends. With this movie, you’ll be sure to get your fill of “pure, wild animal craziness.”
Director: Wes Anderson
Genre(s): Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Runtime: 87 min
The Fantastic Mr. Fox: Creating Fox’s World: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1197696-fantastic_mr_fox/trailers/11095248
Theatrical trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2igjYFojUo
By Hannah Postlethwait, Go! Staff Writer