Monday, December 16, 2013

Fantastic Mr. Fox/Robin Hood.

 Matt Zoller Seitz's gorgeous The Wes Anderson Collection just arrived in the mail, and while I haven't had the chance to read any of it (I'm also intentionally setting it aside for some great fireside Christmas vacation reading) I did skim some of the pictures. One shot that caught my eye was one of Hawkeye and Cora during the waterfall scene from The Last of the Mohicans. The caption beside it lists the scene as an inspiration for the waterfall scene in The Fantastic Mr. Fox. However, upon revisiting the film a few weeks ago, my initial thought was the scene from Disney's Robin Hood when Robin and Marian go under the waterfall to Nancy Adams' Love. Since I haven't read the book yet, I don't know if the Mohicans reference was Seitz's own insight or if he got it from the interview with Anderson. In any case, as I write and listen to the delightful soundtrack soundtrack to Mr. Fox (which is supposed to be my background music as I study for my English final tomorrow), I'm hearing the Nancy Adams song play, which is one of the more direct relationships the film has with Robin Hood (I'd love to talk to Anderson to find out just how much of that film, even in the most subtle and invisible ways, found its way into Mr. Fox). I'm just trying to recall where exactly the song plays in Anderson's film. I wish I hadn't leant my copy of it to a friend, otherwise I'd check. 

In a more broad sense, I must finally be getting Wes Anderson. I've been re-watching a lot of his work since Thanksgiving and find myself incredibly drawn to it. It's not just his sense of humor, or his meticulously crafted visual world, but also his use of sentimentality. Watching The Royal Tenenbaums twice over the last 48 hours, I noticed most of all the scene in which Royal is kicked out of the house after his family learns he was faking the illness. Anderson has turned him into a fairly likable character coated in feeling at this point, and yet watch the way he effortlessly then allows him to tell his wife that his plan was not just to reconnect with his family, but that he was broke and had been kicked out of his hotel. She calls him a bastard, and rightfully so. The way Anderson handles this character, his refusal to deny his true, selfish nature, is a perfect sign of his understanding of how to properly employ sentiment. And yet somehow, maybe because of his interesting characters and their dead-pan dialogue, when he does decide to just be completely sappy, it always works, and feels so much more sincere than one could ever expect. Back to studying! 

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