Literature / Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 1970 children's book by Roald Dahl. In 2009, it was adapted into an animated film by Wes Anderson, which greatly expands on its premise.

The book has examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Rat, who lives in Bean's cider cellar.
    • Bean himself, to such an extent that he never eats, he only drinks the cider he makes. Mabel even says to herself that Bean drinks too much.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Bunce correctly guesses that Mr. Fox has a family, and Bean states that they shall kill all of them when they capture them.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When one of the little Foxes asks if there is any chance of survival if they make a run for it, we get this:
    "No chance at all," snapped Mrs Fox. "I refuse to let you go up there and face those guns. I'd sooner you stay down here and die in peace."
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Boggis, Bunce and Bean (one fat, one short, one lean).
  • Catch-Phrase: Two.
    • "Dang and blast!" for Boggis.
    • "Ex-actly!" for Mr. Fox.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Bunce after his and Bean's attempt to dig up the hill and cature the Foxes fails. We don't hear any of it thanks to Narrative Profanity Filter.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": All of the animals, including the Foxes, the Badgers, the Moles, the Rabbits, the Weasels, and Rat.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Bean has his wife, Mrs. Bean, who appears as The Voice when Mr. Fox and Badger raid Bean's cider cellar.
  • Fat Bastard: Boggis, not only because he's one of the antagonists, but because he eats three boiled chickens smothered with dumplings every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Food End: The book ends with all the animals having a banquet and an assurance that many more banquets are to come, when Mr. Fox's network of tunnels allows him to safely raid all three farms.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Bunce cursing Mr. Fox with "dirty words that cannot be printed". It's Cluster F-Bomb in a kid's book, without revealing what he's saying.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The rudest thing that gets said is "Dang and blast", which is always uttered by Boggis. When Bunce swears, we don't find out what he said.
  • Happily Married: Mr. and Mrs. Fox. She frequently calls him a fantastic fox and they mostly use pet names such as "darling" and "sweetheart" when they speak to each other.
  • I Can't Hear You: Bean towards Bunce, because as he doesn't wash, his earholes get blocked with wax and other things like chewing gum and dead flies, and asks him to speak louder, so Bunce shouts in his ear.
  • Jerkass: Boggis, Bunce and Bean, who are explicitly stated to be this.
    • Rat too, and, according to Badger, all rats in general.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The plot to steal from the farmers after the siege begins. Never mind that they were stealing things before the farmers set themselves against the hill—which makes the line about "decent peace-loving people" rather jarring.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: After the attempt to dig up the hill fails, Bune vents his feelings by cursing Mr. Fox with "dirty words than cannot be printed". In other words, it's a Cluster F-Bomb without revealing any of the swearing.
  • No Name Given: All four of the little Foxes.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mr. Fox has one early on when he realises, while emerging from his hole, that the bright thing he can see behind a tree is the barrel of a gun, pointed right at him.
    • Mr. Fox later that night when he realises the farmers are digging them out of the hill.
    • All of the Foxes when Bunce and Bean use their tractors to dig up the hill. Mr. Fox instructs the others to dig for their lives.
    • Mr. Fox (and presumably Badger and Mr. Fox's son too) in Bean's cider cellar when the door opens and Mabel enters. They barely escape being found.
  • Only One Name: Every named character.
  • The Pig Pen: Bean, who never washes or takes a bath. This means that his ears get clogged with wax and junk, which makes him deaf, and also means that Mr. Fox can smile him from at least a mile away.
    Mr. Fox: "I can smell that man Bean a mile away. He stinks."
  • Title Drop: In several places, mostly by Mrs. Fox.
    Mrs. Fox: I should like you to know that if it wasn't for your father we should all be dead by now. Your father is a fantastic fox.
  • The Voice: Mrs. Bean. Justified, she's upstairs in the farmhouse while the action takes place down in the cellar.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted, then played straight. The first thing we see the farmers do is attempt to shoot Mr. Fox. All they manage to do is shoot off his tail. Boggis even says they should have fired their guns when he first emerged from the hole, as they would almost certainly have killed him. Later, they attempt to dig him out of the hill, then starve him out of it.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Rat, of course, though ultimately he's mostly harmless.


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