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Western Animation / Fantastic Mr. Fox

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"We are all different, but there's something kind of fantastic about that, isn't there?"

"I'm seven non-fox years old now. My father died at seven and a half. I don't want to live in a hole anymore. I'm going to do something about it."
Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 Stop Motion animated film directed by Wes Anderson, his first full foray into animation, and released by 20th Century Fox. It contains an All-Star Cast led by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson.

The film is based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, but it greatly expands upon its premise.

A witty fox named well, Mr. Fox (Clooney), is a former thief, husband and father who is stuck in a mid-life crisis after he had renounced his chicken-stealing days in favor of raising a son with his wife Mrs. Fox (Streep). Dissatisfied with his current place in life and hoping to recapture his glory days, he would set out to perform a great heist at the houses of the nearby three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean.

Trouble quickly arises, however, after the three farmers find out about Mr. Fox and his heists, which pushes the three into going on an all-out manhunt for the fox, determined to exterminate him once and for all, forcing the Fox family and the rest of the animal citizens to seek underground shelter in order to escape from the farmers and their hunt.

With his family and the animal citizens now placed in a perilous situation thanks to his actions, Mr. Fox is now forced to face the consequences of his actions and learn to be a better person, all while trying to find a new home for everyone and to protect the people he loves from the three farmers that are out for his blood.

This cussing movie contains the following examples:

  • 0% Approval Rating: It's implied that Boggis, Bunce and Bean are heavily disliked by the human community, as Badger points out how human children have even come up with a nursery rhyme that makes fun of them. During the all-out manhunt on Mr. Fox, the reporter even makes a snarky jab at the farmers' obssession to hunt down one fox just because he stole a negligible amount of livestock from their farms.
  • 1-Dimensional Thinking: Down, until the siege.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The sewer the animals hide in after they get flushed out of their holes. Of course, it's spacious for animals the size of a fox or smaller.
  • The Ace: Kristofferson, a fox kit who seemingly can do no wrong, much to Ash's frustration who sees everyone, including his own father, belittling him in comparison. Subverted in that Kris is a soft-spoken nice guy who, while he will not hide his talents, never wanted to embarrass his cousin. Ash finally realizes that when he is harassed by a bully and Kris kicks that bully's ass in his cousin's defense. Furthermore, when Kris gets captured, Ash helps rescue him and impresses everyone to his own talents, allowing them to fully make peace and become friends.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Mr. Fox only has one child for most of the movie. He has four in the book.
    • Inverted with Kristofferson, who didn't exist in the original book. Several other minor characters such as Coach Skip, Agnes, Petey and Stan Weasel also weren't in the original book.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The book ends after the animals have made their secret tunnels to the farms while the farmers keep watch outside the hole. The movie adds another two or three parts of the battle.
    • Though it adds more scenes the ending is still a nearly identical scenario to the original only it occurs a few scenes later. No doubt to avoid the movie being too short. note 
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the book, Mr. Fox and Badger are best friends, and are very friendly and loyal to one another the moment they meet up. In the movie, the two of them have a more terse relationship, with them getting into an argument over buying a tree that devolves into shouting and hissing, and Badger later angrily singles out and blames Mr. Fox for destroying the animal community thanks to his antics. They still work together to keep themselves alive however.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The book described Boggis Bunce and Bean as incredibly ugly, something Badger agrees with in the film. However, the three honestly aren't too bad looking, even looking rather distinguished. Their meanness, however, is perfectly intact.
  • Adaptational Badass: Rat in the book was a spineless coward who fled from Mr. Fox at the slightest threat. Here, he's a switchblade-wielding security guard on Bean's payroll who's bigger than Fox (or any of the other animals, for that matter.)
  • Adaptational Nationality: All of the characters in the book were British, due to the novel taking place in the English countryside. Here, while the setting is still set in England, the animals all have American accents, despite the humans still speaking with British ones.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original novel, Rat was simply a scavenger who hung out in Bean's cellar filching the cider (and was a coward who Fox was able to scare off pretty easily); in this version, he's more malicious, actually working for Bean as a security guard.
  • Alliterative Family: Felicity and her husband, the titular fantastic F. F. Fox.
  • All There in the Manual: Fans of the book may gripe at the liberties taken with the plot, but a lot of them were in fact taken from Dahl's own manuscripts of alternative plot possibilities, which were used because the plot as published didn't extend well to feature length.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Stan Weasel, the estate agent. His mannerisms, poses and voice seem to fit the stereotype of the slightly effeminate homosexual pretty well, not to mention the pink shirt.
  • Anachronism Stew: Somewhat downplayed but present. Most of the technology seen in the film appears to be from 1970s period but there are occasional instances of more modern tech showing up:
    • Badger has what appears to be a PC with flat screen behind him in his office.
    • Stan Weasel tries to use a cellphone at one point when all the animals are cooped up deep underground.
    • The guard stationed at Bean Annex is seen using a laptop.
  • Animal Nemesis: The farmers' obsession with destroying the eponymous fox and the effort they put in to achieve it is simply outstanding overkill.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Although it's not too bad for the most part (Mr Fox is taller than Badger but Badger is much brawnier), there's no other explanation for how Rat is taller than any of the foxes.
  • Animal Talk: Still doesn't explain how the humans don't notice the animals walk and wear clothes.
  • Author Appeal: Wes Anderson added the subplot of the son and his friend to include his favorite theme of family alienation.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: One of the central themes of the film, drives the central emotional conflict of the film. Played straighter at the very end of the film.
  • Badass Boast: "Your tractors uprooted my tree, your posse hunted my family, your gunmen kidnapped my nephew, your rat insulted my wife, and you shot off my tail. Im not leaving here without that necktie." Subverted almost immediately afterward when the farmers' workforce replies with a hail of bullets, resulting in Mr. Fox giving up almost immediately.
  • Babies Ever After: After settling into their new homes and discovering a supermarket, Felicity tells Mr. Fox she is pregnant again and they couldn't be more thrilled.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Almost all of the animal characters.
    • The One Who Wears Shoes: Kris, Coach Skip, and Beaver's son are the only animal characters in the entire movie to wear shoes.
  • Bathos: In the way that only Wes Anderson can pull off. Rat's death scene is both hilarious and sad, as he confesses in his dying moments that he'd become so addicted to cider that he wasted his life as an enforcer for Mr. Bean, and his old enemy grants him some final moments of peace with a taste of Bean's apple cider, followed seconds later by Rat dying with cartoony X's eyes for eyes.
  • Beergasm: Described like Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters by the liter.
    Mr. Fox: This is some of the strongest, finest alcoholic cider money can buy. It burns in your throat, boils in your stomach, and tastes almost exactly like pure melted gold.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kristofferson is a soft-spoken fox kit, but if you dare bully his cousin, Ash, you are in for a world of hurt with only the mercy of being attacked shoeless to avoid breaking your muzzle.
    • The equally quiet Mrs. Fox also permanently scars her husband in a fit of anger, threatens Rat with a length of padlocked chain, and proves to be pretty handy with improvised explosives.
  • Be Yourself: Deconstructed. Mrs. Fox forcing her husband to not Be Himself is what kicks off the plot, and his Snap Back has fairly dramatic consequences, including her regretting their marriage. The benefit of following this trope is ambiguous.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Subverted with Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. While this trope looks to be in play at the beginning, The former two ultimately act as little more than henchman for the latter, with Bean being the smartest, most dangerous, and persistent antagonist.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean (one fat, one short, one lean).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Best emphasized by Mr. Fox's toast. While earlier he was toasting to their victory, at the end he simply toasts to their survival.
    • Of course. It's away from predators and it's within walking distance of an endless food supply, which is so massive that the meager amounts of food needed to feed everyone would easily go unnoticed. It makes perfect sense. They're actually better off than they were before with other animals considering moving in.
    • Subverted subtly, as all the animals have been forced out of their cozy, traditional, countryside homes and forced into squatting into a cold and uninviting sewer system, with the only available food being processed crap from a supermarket.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use:
    • A man uses his glass of beer to douse a fire.
    • Farmer Bean tries to drown the fox family with cider, but they and their friends end up being washed into the sewer instead.
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with Mrs. Fox abruptly announcing that she's pregnant.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Ash is actually older than his cousin, but fits this trope to a T, at least until character development kicks in.
  • The Cameo: Wes Anderson as Weasel, Owen Wilson as Coach Skip, Mario Batali as Chef Rabbit and Adrien Brody as Rickity the Field Mouse.
  • Calvinball: Averted with Whackbat. All the rules are explained. Nevertheless, they are extremely confusing.
  • Catchphrase: Mr Fox's trademark whistle~* clickclick*
    • Poor Kylie tries to develop his own, but it doesn't catch on as easily.
    • "Here, put these bandit hats on."
  • Chekhov's Gun: Subverted with Mrs. Bean. Kris comments on her poor eyesight early on, and she seems to completely miss Kris and Ash when they've snuck into her kitchen. Then she grabs the knife, her glasses, and wheels around...
    • Played straight with Mrs. Fox's beautiful painting skills and the fiery, uber-confusing sport Whackbat.
    • Mr. Fox fires four blueberries at the three beagles. Each eats one and drops. A bit later, Boggis eats the fourth one and also drops.
    • The portrait in Badger's law office seems to show him during a prior career with the military, which might explain his skill with explosions, flames and burning things.
    • The information about beagles.
    • A small gag regarding "spring-loaded" traps (which drop away from where they're triggered).
    • A helicopter flies by early on carrying a banner that reveals the farmers own their own supermarket.
  • Chekhov's Skill: "Plus he knows karate." - a random observation Mr.Fox makes about Kristofferson, which obviously has some part to play later in the film.
  • Civilized Animal: Although the animals are quite anthropomorphic, they are still wildlife.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Parodied. All of the adult male animal characters swear like they're in a Martin Scorsese movie, but each and every instance of profanity is replaced by them literally saying the word "cuss."
  • Comically Missing the Point: When overhearing the song Petey's singing about him, Mr. Bean is more upset that Petey is making the lyrics up as he goes along than he is that the song is making fun of him and his colleagues.
  • Command Roster: Played with and one of the film's aesops, with each individual's special skills highlighted, and even takes on a vaguely military overtone for the final act. Contains the obligatory My Friends... and Zoidberg.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: The evil farmers write Mr. Fox a letter in letters cut from magazines, and Mr. Fox writes his reply the same way. Both times had the recipient of the letter wondering why.
  • Creator Cameo: Wes Anderson himself voices Stan Weasel, the estate agent.
  • Creator Provincialism: Accents of the animal cast aside, there are many distinctly American quirks throughout the film, including American-style local news channels (going by provocative names like Action 12), American-style banjo music, American fluorescent orange hunting vests, fire brigade uniforms, and construction helmets, as well as Boggis', Bunce's and Bean's baron-esque business practices.
  • Creepy Children Singing: Although it's only creepy in-universe. The three farmers are so infamous even among humans that children have developed a schoolyard rhyme about them. Badger, a lawyer, uses a recording of it to try to dissuade clients from buying property in their area.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Mr. Fox - The rest of his family have personalities distinct from this.
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: The farmers and the animals each send the other side a cut and paste note, despite the fact that they already know each other's identities. They hang a lampshade by having each side ask aloud why the other did this.
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    Ash: I'm getting better at [whackbat], right?
    Coach Skip: Well, you're sure as cuss not getting any worse.
  • Dance Party Ending: The movie ends with the foxes and Kylie dancing in the supermarket to the tune of The Bobby Fuller Four's Let Her Dance.
  • Death by Adaptation: Rat didn't die in the book.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Discussed with Rat. He did help them out, but he was still just another dead rat in a garbage pail behind a Chinese restaurant.
  • Defying the Censors: Ash's parents apparently almost mistook him for being female before he was born.note 
  • Delicious Distraction: Drives the plot of the film.
  • Desk Sweep of Rage: When Mr. Bean, leader of the local farmers, gets word that Mr. Fox has robbed them blind by digging under all of their security, he swipes everything off his desk, flips it, and keeps going, completely wrecking the trailer he was using as a headquarters, then exits the trailer and keeps going until he's wrecked the outside as well.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When you think about it, the three villains are the kings of this trope in their efforts to get revenge against Mr. Fox for his pilfering, given how rich they must be. (Boggis eats more of his own chicken in a day than Mr. Fox likely could steal in a month, and he had more than one of those storehouses; what Mr. Fox was doing likely didn't cost him even a percent of a percent of his profit margin.) And yet, the three of them were willing to level an entire forest and use a small army of farmhands in their insane revenge plan.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Fox isn't afraid of wolves, he has a phobia of them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Mr. Fox's description of the consequences of being, and being bitten by, a rabid dog. These days it's not so much a "death sentence" as it is "medication" for the former and "six months of stomach injections" for the latter.
    • Also covered in Bittersweet Ending. In the conclusion, all the animals have been forced into a city housing project and have to subsist on processed, artificial food, like poor and marginalized minorities.
    • Felicity giving a talk to her son Ash about how they're all "different". Very similar to an open-minded parent giving their child a talk about being in the closet.
  • Emo Teen: Ash before the Character Development. Admit it.
  • Evil Brit: Literally every bad-guy has a British accent, and every good guy a generic American one, with the exception of Rat, who has a New Orleans accent.
    • To be fair, the film most likely takes place in the UK, as evidenced by the presence of a right-hand-drive car.
  • Evil Tastes Good: In this case, the food the evil farmers make tastes good.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The animals cuss by saying..."cuss."
  • Fat Bastard: Boggis.
  • Flipping the Table: When Mr. Bean, leader of the local farmers, gets word that Mr. Fox has robbed them blind by digging under all of their security, he swipes everything off his desk, flips it, and keeps going, completely wrecking the trailer he was using as a headquarters.
  • Foe Romantic Subtext: Rat with Mrs. Fox. "Am I being flirted with by a psychotic rat?!"
  • Food Porn: Despite the feast obviously being fabricated, it still looked delicious. Also the cider cellar in all its golden glory.
  • Foreshadowing: During the rundown of the three farmers, Bean is mentioned to have invented his own species of turkey and apple, the latter of which is a star-skinned apple. The same kinds of apples appear in the supermarket at the end, hinting that the supermarket is owned by the farmers.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: At least on the animals (and it looks just a bit weird).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Mr. Fox's "Fox About Town"/"Fox on the Prowl" newspaper articles. The former mentions his phobia of wolves before it's brought up.
    • When Mr. Fox is browsing the newspaper during Kristofferson's arrival, the articles are a continuous passage from the novel.
    • During the swimming pool scene, Ash dries himself with a stolen hotel towel.
  • Funny Background Event: During the ambush, you can see graffiti saying CUSS!
  • Furry Confusion: So you have a dazzling array of talking animals who live secret human lifestyles. And then you have the actual birds which they eat. Maybe just mammals are intelligent? But then you have the farmers' dogs and horses and the wolf who looks like an actual wolf.
    • Actually deconstructed somewhat. The plot of the film is ultimately driven by the conflict between Mr. Fox's human lifestyle, and his fox instincts. In one scene Mr. Fox speechifies about the value of all the animals' dual identities.
    • It's very well thought-out actually. Domesticated animals are generally less sentient in the film's universe than medium-sized wild animals, who behave the most like humans, thus the Fox family as medium-sized omnivores qualify. Large predators like the wolf are likewise more wild than anthropomorphic.
    • Also played for laughs, particularly in the scene where Mr. Fox and Badger are arguing in the office.
      • Don't forget his eating manners at the dinner table.
    • This is ultimately the main theme of the movie, and Mr. Fox's inner conflict between his desire to be more like a "wild animal" and his comfortable suburban life is what drives the entire storyline. The film's catharsis comes during the scene where Mr. Fox finally learns how to make peace with his double nature through his encounter with an *actual* wild animal.
  • Furry Reminder: While the animals are fully clothed and live in furnished apartments, they occasionally do quite animalistic things, like ravenously eating their food and growling and hissing at each other as they argue. Their dual nature is a major theme in the film.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Rat is sipping from a jug of hard cider when he first appears. Farmer Bean also qualifies, naturally.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Frank Bean's weapon is a Luger, to underline his status as the most competent, dangerous, and blatantly evil of the three farmers.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Ash wears printed briefs.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera pans down to the lower level of the chicken coop as Mr. Fox kills Kylie's chicken for him.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Instead of a Sound-Effect Bleep, the characters literally say "cuss" in the place of swearing. Examples:
    "You cussin' with me?!" "You scared the cuss out of us!!" "I sure as cuss hope so." "What the cuss is he burning?" "This is gonna be a total clustercuss for everybody." "Holy swearing cuss!"
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: Of Ash, in the final confrontation at Bean Annex.
  • Hollywood Midlife Crisis: Mr. Fox feels inadequate after becoming seven-and-a-half in human years, due to having to give up his exciting capers after settling down with his wife and son. He feels that the domestic life is keeping him from satisfying his "wild" side, being an animal and all. It starts with buying a new house, then sneaking out at night to raid farms, and escalates from there.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Subverted. The only humans portrayed in a negative light are the three greedy and incredibly wealthy farmers, and even then, Bean is the only farmer who is really evil.
    • Bean also has the tunnel vision, intense focus, and general demeanor of a violent alcoholic with a hair-trigger. Plausible for someone who is said to live on his own hard cider.
  • Iconic Item: Mr. Fox often wears a transistor radio clipped to one of the lower pockets of his suit jacket. Ash eventually starts wearing one of his own.
  • Iconic Outfit: Ash's very... odd choice of dress, consisting of all-white clothes, a cape, and the pants tucked into his socks. Its strangeness is lampshaded by Mr. Fox, with Mrs. Fox handwaving it as a phase Ash is going through. (The observant will notice him reading a comic book about a superhero called White Mask in one scene (and a poster adorns his bedroom wall), so it's apparently some sort of makeshift superhero costume.)
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The farmers and snipers shoot away from the wooden crates the gang is hiding behind until they are outlined, then Ash runs a gauntlet while they fire enough ammo at him to supply the Normandy Invasion.
  • Improbable Food Budget: Mrs. Fox knows the pantry shouldn't be that full. Suspicion Ensues.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: There's not really any good reason for the farmers to keep Kris alive once they get a recording of him... but hey, they aren't totally evil. On the other hand, Kris was a prime hostage, as Mr. Fox was the one they really wanted.
  • Infodump: Played for laughs with the Whack-Bat scene, in which, upon learning that Kristofferson doesn't exactly know how to play, the otter coach rather rapidly explains the intricacies of Whack-Bat. The following round actually follows the rules he explained, and Kris gets it perfectly on his first try, although it's not too surprising considering he's The Ace.
  • Info Drop: There is much fun had with the conversion between fox years and human years (a 6:1 ratio), though a specific year for the movie's events is never given: it can, however, be extrapolated from Ash's age, Mr. Fox's age and the years we see on a trophy (1973, in case you were wondering).
    • Oddly enough, however, Rat's cider bottle has "Cuvée 2006" stamped on it, and one of the soundtrack's songs is titled, "Stunt Expo 2004". Supposedly, the year is left vague, even though the aesthetic would suggest some time before the 00s...although, there's a bit of Anachronism Stew at play; while a lot of the technology seen in the film has 70s aesthetic, there's also some more modern stuff like a PC with flat screen behind Badger in his office, and Stan Weasel trying to use a cellphone at one point.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Technically Clay Suit Actor. Petey looks identical to Jarvis Cocker, his voice actor. Bean is a lesser example, but he still looks a lot like Michael Gambon.
  • Jabba Table Manners, Subverted: All of the animals eat like wild animals, but all act like civilized individuals. Boggis, however, is a Fat Bastard and a Villainous Glutton.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The Americanized voices/accents on the animal characters and British voices/accents on the human characters add contrast between their two parallel societies.
  • Just Eat Him: A weird but far more realistic example than most, as Mr. Fox tries to teach Kylie the fine art of making a clean kill. Doesn't help that Kylie is The Woobie to start with.
    Mr. Fox: I told you: kill it with one bite!
    Kylie: I'm trying! My teeth don't work like yours.
  • Kill It with Water: Or in this case cider, effectively combining this trope with Libation for the Dead.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Both sides comment quizzically on the notes cut out of magazines, sent to each other.
    • Also, "I'm picking up a high-frequency radio signal with a can!"
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: As Mr. Fox delivers a Rousing Speech to the other animals to fight against the farmers, each one lists off a special talent they possess. The first few are traits associated with that particular creature—Mole can see in the dark, Rabbit is fast, and Beaver can chew through wood. And Badger? a demolitions expert. Lampshaded immediately when Mr. Fox offers a Big "WHAT?!" in response.
  • Lean and Mean: Bean.
  • Leitmotif: A whole lot.
    • Boggis, Bunce, and Bean have the Ironic Nursery Rhyme which recurs in a whistle or a children's choir every time they're up to no good. ... or about to get their comeuppance.
    • There is also "Kristofferson's Theme" and "Mr. Fox in the Field", which get bonus points for having similar harmony and instruments. Musically, they reinforce the conflict between Mr. Fox, Ash - his natural son who is "different" - and Kristofferson - the son he would prefer.
    • The whack-bat sequence gets a theme that sound's like an American high school football band that replays during the finale.
    • Rat. Definitely Rat. With gratuitous finger-snapping.
    • Heck, even the trains get one. A light and cheerful fairground tune plays whenever there's a train in the shot, whether it's a model or a real one in the distance. What this is supposed to represent is open to interpretation.
  • Literal Soapbox Speech: At the end of the movie, after they find their way into a supermarket, Mr. Fox is asked to make a toast. In a Visual Pun, he stands atop a box of detergent before addressing the crowd.
  • Loveable Rogue: Mr Fox plays this archetype oh so straight. Especially when Fridge Logic kicks in. Also acts as a deconstruction, he constantly needs to be the centre of attention, disappointed if he doesn't leave others awestruck. This leads to his compulsion which nearly tears his family apart and gets them killed.
  • Love Triangle: Kristofferson/Agnes/Ash. They're all study partners in chemistry class but Ash gets upset when Agnes pays more attention to Kristofferson than him. Agnes defends that she is a lab partner to Ash but he scoffs saying she's "disloyal". Eventually, the two are going steady and this upsets Ash more, causing him to argue about it with Kristofferson as one of the many things that anger him.
  • Masochist's Meal:
    Beaver's son: Your dad got us into this mess, that's why you're going to pick some this mud up off the ground and eat it.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Rat is visible in the background behind Mr. Fox for about a minute before he announces his presence. While not as dramatic, the helicopter that's been puttering back and forth throughout the movie also counts.
  • Mid-Life Crisis Car: The tree that Mr. Fox can't really afford is one of these, a way to avoid feeling "poor".
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Kylie is a possum in what appears to be the English countryside (most animal species are European, and the farmers talk with British accents).
  • Mook Lieutenant: Petey, being the employee Bean radios when he wants personnel assembled or materiel acquired.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: A running theme: one of the main sources of humor in the movie is the characters being dramatically intense about random things. It especially runs in the Fox family - Mr. Fox and Ash do this lot.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Rat tries to push Fox's buttons by saying his wife was "the town tart" back in the day. Fox is a bit rattled to have it brought up in front of his friend, but doesn't try to deny it and even objects to the Double Standard that's implied... suggesting that he, too, got around quite a bit once upon a time.
  • Named In The Adaptation:
    • Mr. Fox's children weren't given official names in the book. Here, his one son is named Ash.
    • Badger also has the first name Patrick in the film, something his book counterpart lacks.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Lampshaded.
    Badger: Demolitions expert!
    Mr. Fox: What?! Since when?!
  • Nice Guy: Kylie, the opossum. As Mr. Fox puts it, his special skill is "being available."
  • No Smoking/Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted in place of Smoking Is Cool (see below). In fact, when one character confuses containers of very hard cider for apple juice, his error is enthusiastically corrected by others.
  • Oh, Crap!: Fox's reaction before he and the rest of the animals are flushed out of the burrows by apple cider. "Cider?".
  • Off the Wagon: Actually stated by Mr. Fox when he's apologizing to his wife about stealing birds again. Has nothing to do with the tobacco or alcohol in the film.
  • One Last Job: Narrative basis of the story, exact words used. Goes about as well as expected.
  • Overly-Long Gag: Bean angrily wrecks his trailer for thirty uninterrupted seconds.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: All of the adult male animals have very dirty's just that their only example of profanity is literally the word "cuss."
  • Phrase Catcher: Ash. He's... *erratic arm gesturing* different.
  • Playing Sick: When Ash doesn't want to go back to school, he lies to his parents that he has a temperature. They don't believe him.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Subverted. Though Mr. Fox makes a speech to the farmers that could definitely qualify as one, it ultimately ends in him cowering in fear as they open fire on him.
    Mr. Fox: Your tractors uprooted my tree, your posse hunted my family, your gunmen kidnapped my nephew, your rat insulted my wife, and YOU shot off my tail. I'm not leaving here without that neck-tie!
    • Kristofferson has one before beating the cuss out of beaver's son.
      Beaver's Son: Why'd you take your shoes off?
      Kristofferson: So I don't break your nose when I kick it.
    • Mrs. Fox has one, sotto voce, before scratching the cuss out of her husband.
      Mrs. Fox: I'm going to lose my temper now.
  • Prisoner Exchange: Neither side has any intention of keeping up their end of the bargain.
  • Product Placement: Badger has an Apple computer in his office.
  • Psycho for Hire: Rat is employed as Bean's security guard over the cider cellar. As he's dying, he reveals he originally took the job for the cider rather than the thrill of fighting off and catching intruders.
  • Pyromaniac/Mad Bomber: Badger, who is a lawyer.
    Explosions! Flames! Burning things!
  • Retraux: Blatantly so. Much of the animation takes inspiration from early pioneers of Stop Motion, such as Willis O'Brian and Ray Harryhausen, and they even intentionally add imperfections to the fur, which is similar to a more unintentional instance in King Kong.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Played straight for about a minute when Mr. Fox vows to get his tail back from Bean, then immediately averted when after narrowly avoiding a hail of gunfire Mr. Fox decides it would be a better idea to just get the hell out of there
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Whereas Rat was a small, cowardly creature in the book, here he's actually bigger and taller than Mr. Fox himself, and by proxy the largest anthropomorphized animal in the whole movie.
  • Roguish Poacher: Albeit in the style of The Caper.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The scene where Mr Fox encounters a wolf after rescuing his nephew from the farmers. Throughout the film, Mr Fox questions his own happiness and purpose and believes he's a wild animal at heart and believes he shouldn't deny his true nature. The scene with the wolf shows how drastically & stylistically different Mr Fox is compared to the wolf. The silent, colourless wolf has to survive by hunting and being the strongest in its own environment, whereas, the talkative Mr. Fox is able to survive his environment through cooperation, cunning, and wit. The scene shows how Mr Fox realised how he's a product of his environment and not as wild as the wolf.
  • Rule of Three: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.
  • Running Gag:
    • Kylie's eyes.
    • Mr. Fox and Kylie's "I hate wolves/I hate thunder" and Ash's "I'm an athlete, you know".
    • The bandit hats as well.
    • The cussing.
    • Other animals saying Ash is "different" complete with hand gestures.
  • Second-Face Smoke: Present if a little modified in Mr Bean's critique of a freestyle song.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Mr. Fox tells Kylie that one of the beagles is "rabid, with rabies!"
  • Shared Family Quirks: Played with. They're not blood relatives, as Ash points out, but Mr. Fox and his nephew (by marriage) Kristofferson are both athletic. Also, Ash and his father are both eccentric (or "different" as everyone puts it).
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the songs is from another animated film with foxy leads, Disney's Robin Hood (1973). There are also nods to that other caper movie where George Clooney's character gives up his thievery to be with his wife, only to fall back into it and put everyone in danger.
    • There's also one to Rebel Without a Cause: During one of Mr. and Mrs. Fox's arguments, Kylie appears wearing a red blanket, quoting Dean's famous speech, "You say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again!", only missing the infamous "You're tearing me apart!".
    • The shop outside which Fox and Kylie steal the motorbike is called Padington Cycles.
    • Mr. Bean's cider press uses the same sound effects as the textile machinery in The Man in the White Suit.
    • Mr. Fox's whistle is the same as Hawkeye Pierce's.
    • Rat menaces Ash in the sewer by dance-walking towards him and snapping his fingers rhythmically.
    • "Beagles love blueberries" is a fairly obvious reference to the same drugging technique in Danny, the Champion of the World, another of Dahl's books. (Pheasants love raisins.) note .
    • When wielding his Luger, Mr. Bean's Pistol Pose often mimics James Bond, specifically Sean Connery's.
    • A possible subtle one to Roald Dahl himself: Mr. Fox has a writing board that he sets on his armchair, very similar to how Dahl preferred to write his stories.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: One poster of the film had the Tagline "Dig The Life Fantastic".
  • Showdown at High Noon: Referenced in the exchange.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Fox is technically this because his fur is red.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Throughout the film characters smoke which lends that neat film noir lighting in the dark effect, as well as characters drinking and referring to alcohol in a positive fashion.
  • Stealth Pun: Fox steps on a box of soap for a toast.
    • As they dig down into the earth to flee the farmers, Mr. Fox attempts to apologize to Ash, only to ruin it when he starts praising Kristofferson's efforts. He is literally and figuratively digging himself deeper.
  • The Stoic: Boggis and Bunce, especially Bunce, whose sour expression never changes once. Bean tries to be like this, but he has a violent temper that comes out more than once.
  • Stylistic Suck: Downplayed; the visuals aren't meant to look "bad" so much as "amateurish." The characters are designed in a way that allows for visible chatter note  and the sets and special effects are dressed to emphasize their artificiality.
  • Supreme Chef: Rabbit, voiced by Mario Batali.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: All the animals are saddened by the death of Rat, even Fox himself (who dealt the killing blow), despite his being the traitorous head of security for farmer Bean. In fairness, Rat did manage to come to his senses at last in his few final moments when he revealed that he had turned traitor because he had become too addicted to the apple cider of Bean.
    Ash: He redeemed himself.
    Fox: Redemption? Sure. But in the end, he's just another dead rat in the garbage pail behind a Chinese restaurant.
  • Take Me Instead: Mr. Fox at first decides to hand himself in to save the others — until he hears his son, who is being kidnapped by Rat, cry for help.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Rat seems to consider himself this, though how much the third requirement actually applies is questionable.
  • Tantrum Throwing: When Mr. Bean, leader of the local farmers, gets word that Mr. Fox has robbed them blind by digging under all of their security, he swipes everything off his desk, flips it, and keeps going, completely wrecking the trailer he was using as a headquarters.
  • Technicolor Science: Multi-colored test tubes in the lab.
  • Terrible Trio: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean (the ultimate Big, Thin, Short Trio) are played like this, with Bean being the Big Bad, and Boggis and Bunce his sidekicks.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The farmers bring way, way more ammunition and digging equipment than they ought to need. But still not quite enough to get more than Mr. Fox's tail.
  • Thin-Skinned Bully: Beaver's son makes Ash eat mud in retaliation for Ash's father causing the whole neighborhood to be destroyed. Ash's cousin Kristofferson comes to his rescue by using his karate training to beat the bully up. The bully cries then leaves Ash alone after that.
  • Time Skip: The intro is two years (twelve fox years) before the rest of the film.
  • Title Drop: "I think I have this thing where I need to have everyone think I'm the greatest... the quote-unquote 'Fantastic Mr. Fox.'"
    • Dropped again at the end by Felicity.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Mr. Fox gets carried away sometimes. Examining the anti-fox trap the farmer's set up? Trying to make friends with the rabid dog, after your companions have already gotten away? Edging into this trope.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Boggis - chicken; Bunce - homemade doughnuts with smashed up goose livers injected into them; Bean - strong alcoholic apple cider.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer shows off pretty much the entire ending in the supermarket.
  • Tunnel King: Mr. Fox is good at making tunnels.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: Time in the film is often measured in both human and fox measurements (e.g., two human years is equal to twelve fox years).
  • The Un-Favourite: Ash considers himself this, seeing himself inferior to his athletic and more popular cousin, and his father's attitude towards said cousin doesn't help. Which leads to Bratty Half-Pint (see above).
  • Unusual Euphemism: Throughout the movie, every possible cuss word that could have been possibly used is literally replaced with the word 'cuss'. Leads to a very funny moment when the word is seen graffitied on a city wall.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When a pilot notices the fox family on a motorcycle:
    Pilot: I've got a fox on a motorcycle with a littler fox and uh, what appears to be an opossum in the sidecar riding north on farm lane. Does that sound like anything to anybody?
  • Verbal Tic: Fox tries to force one.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Bean's response to finding out the animals had managed to rob all three farmers blind when the farmers thought they had them on the ropes.
  • Villainous Glutton: All three farmers, but especially Boggis, who eats three chickens for every square meal of the day (plus dessert).
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Rat's last action is to reveal where Kristofferson is being held.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: The movie has two. The one that is also the page quote is taken from the book as a nursery rhyme. The other is sung by Petey during a montage of Fox and the other animals committing a mass theft of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean's storerooms. Bean even berates Petey on the second occasion... for making it up as he goes along.
  • Visual Pun: When Mr. Fox says his wife is positively glowing, he means it.
    • He also steps on a metaphorical soapbox at the end, which happens to actually contain soap.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Ash spends a fair part of the movie walking around in his underwear.
  • Walk Through the Camera: Bean does this when he has a temper tantrum and trashes the inside of the trailer.
  • Wearing It All Wrong: Ash wants a bandit hat like Mr. Fox, Kylie, and Kristofferson, so he cuts eye-holes in a tube sock and wears that on his face.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Ash in relation to his father.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Or what happened to the albino otter in this case. Coach Skip only has one scene, the Whack-Bat scene at the school, then never appears again, unlike all the other animals in the film. It's possible that the farmers actually managed to catch and kill him since he never appears post-siege.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Mr. Fox's suit was designed after and made from the actual material of one of Wes Anderson's own suits.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Ash enjoys wearing a feminine wool sweater and a lacy cape.
  • Wingding Eyes: Kylie's eyes will change to spirals when he zones out. When the dogs and Boggis pass out (or something like it), their eyes turn into asterisks. The dead poultry and Rat have X's for eyes.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Played for Laughs with Kylie and Mr. Fox, whose skeletons show through when they climb the electric fence. Played lethally serious with Rat during his fight with Mr. Fox in the underground transformer room.
  • You Monster!: Bean's described as the worst of the farmers.
    Badger: He's as skinny as a pencil, as smart as a whip, and possibly the scariest man currently living.


Video Example(s):


Dead Rat in a Garbage Pail

In "Fantastic Mr. Fox," Rat reveals an important secret, but admits that he's only doing so because he's about to die, killed by Mr. Fox. Did he redeem himself? You decide, but as Mr. Fox says, in the end he's still just another dead rat in a garbage pail behind a Chinese restaurant.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeathEqualsRedemption

Media sources: