6:00 PM, 27th March, 2010
This movie is a delight. If you enjoyed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or The Darjeeling Limited, then you can’t miss this one. Director Wes Anderson tries his hand at stop-motion animation, and brings a contemporary edge to Roald Dahl’s classic story. It has the same dark, twisted humour that Dahl brilliantly hid behind the absurdity of his stories, but adds Anderson’s dry wit and deadpan humour to deliver a wonderful adaptation and interpretation of the story of that sly old fox.
If you’ve read the original book, then you know what you’re getting into. In a nutshell the movie is about a fox who steals from three farmers who, motivated to protect their farms (and get revenge), set out to remove said fox from their list of problems.
Throw in a strangely beautiful art direction and animation style, with a deeper story than the nutshell I have given, and you get quite a smart and funny story. And with talent like George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman lending their voices to the characters, the animation is nicely complemented by the talent.
If you can’t handle Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, you may find yourself a little put off by his interpretation of the book. But if you remember the mentality of Dahl and his original stories, it actually makes more sense than not to bring Anderson’s sensibilities to the movie. Nothing will ever change the original story we read as children, but this movie is a damn good re-telling of the story and couldn’t be done better by anyone else.
8:00 PM, 27th March, 2010
Before seeing this film (and, I’ll admit, looking stuff up afterwards), my ideas about Charles Kingsford Smith and Amelia Earhart were similarly vague. I mention Kingsford Smith because other Australians might know what I’m talking about here.
All I knew was that he was the first pilot, or maybe just the first Australian, to do something or other. But since we’re all expected to be familiar with all Australian achievements it’s hard to shake off the sense that it’s some sort of sin not to know more than this. Similarly with Amelia Earhart, who I knew was the first pilot, or maybe just the first woman, to do something or other – you might have the nagging sense that there’s some kind of feminist faux pas involved in not knowing more.
Good news, this film is for you. It’s an easily digested, prettily shot (a film about aviation owes it to us to provide us with beautiful landscapes and skyscapes), well-paced biopic that tells you about as much as you want to know so you can feel comfortable forgetting it all afterwards if you like.
That wasn’t a coded insult. I like these kinds of films. I’ll even respect your ignorance, which I shared, and not mention what happened on her final flight, for which she is most famous. It wasn’t until near the very end that I thought: “So that’s where I heard the name before.”