Beauty of the Moment: Fantastic Mr Fox's Wolf Scene
Updated: May 16
Wes Anderson is a genius. Fantastic Mr Fox is a piece of art.
We all know the cinematography of Anderson, as well as the humour and creativity in his narrative style, and Fantastic Mr Fox is the perfect example of what he is capable of creating. Each shot is aesthetically pleasing, as well as an impressive technical work of animation. Throughout, it's more than possible to forget it's animated; the pure beauty and narrative cohesion just makes it all so believable.
Ever since I was young, I loved Roald Dahl's story, and onceI was slightly older, I began to watch this film on repeat. There was one scene in particular that stuck out to me, and still does to this day.
This is the scene where we see a wolf sat upon a mountain, and Mr Fox and his accomplices drive by and stop before it. The music ‘Canis Lupis’ by Alexadre Desplat soars in the background, and, coupled with the general intricacy and attention to detail of the shot, the sequence is a real delight to watch. I have read a couple reviews that state this scene is "pointless" and "has no addition to the plot"; however, I argue the opposite.
It is a moment of the film that pauses the action and intensity of the previous and upcoming scenes and looks at the characters for what they are: animals.
After watching this film and scene time after time, I have fallen in love with what I think it means and represents. The wolf is not wearing any clothes, or standing upright; unlike almost any other animals in the film, even a sewer rat. Wearing clothes feels almost like a modern discovery for the animals of the film; this is because Mr Fox isn’t surprised that the wolf is ‘naked’, instead his presence makes them initially uncomfortable. His fear of wolves suggests that wolves are not like the rest of the animal world; they do not interact with other animals in the way the other characters of the film do.
I believe that this whole idea, as well as this interaction is truly significant, as it reminds Mr Fox, as well as the audience, that they are still animals; an idea that is repeated by Mr Fox but only ever in times of aggression - it’s used as an excuse whenever he messes up.
This moment represents a moment of peace and truce between the two worlds of wild and modern. Mr Fox was so scared of the metaphorical ‘wild’, and only ever used the word in a negative way. After seeing the wolf, he fails to communicate with it, yelling at him in Latin, English and Spanish until he comes to the conclusion that he simply does not understand. Upon this realisation, he sees that he himself is not as wild as he thought, and he feels almost upset upon this realisation.
The arm raised in the air is the only interaction they communicate effectively, highlighting how they are still connected. I feel like this may be a moment we can empathise with, as we are reminded of the connection we still have with animals and nature. This is an important theme throughout the film, as the audience make their own judgement on whether what Boris, Bunce and Bean are right to do what they do.
Even the set shows the difference between the wild and the modern animal kingdoms. The wolf is snowy and the colour palette is plainly white, black and blue. This heavily contrasts the yellow, orange and warm colours shown in the bottom half of the screen, as well as the entire film as a whole. The group Mr Fox is with are completely mesmerised by this creature, as they too are reminded of the beauty and mystique of the wild. In two minutes, Anderson has shown us an odd yet truly profound interaction, and shown the audience exactly what the film represents and means in its most succinct form.
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