"If you loved reading - or even better, listening to - Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox ... I’m sorry to say you'll deplore this film. It's not just the messing around with the plot that's deeply disappointing: some adaptation is only to be expected in creating a full length feature film from a short novel. What really irks is the impoverished re-characterisation.
Gone is Dahl's wily Mr Fox, whose cunning serves the basic needs of his family and community, to be replaced by a (very Hollywood) selfishly ambitious, and not particularly likeable creature. The new Mrs Fox bears little of the charming forbearance of the original, but has been redrawn as a more predictably contemporary archetype. Badger is a paler-than-pale shadow of Dahl's endearing creation. Rat is more of a street gangster than the hilarious, boozy imbiber of cider that the author so clearly revelled in. The invention of the two young cousins Ash and Kristoffersen supports the sickeningly, condescendingly and typically Hollywood motif that if you are true to who you really are (warts and all), you will win through. (Personally, I think there are times when we'd do better to try removing the warts). There is the perennial Hollywood display of what I suppose is considered passionate anger, in the form of Farmer Bean having a grown-up tantrum, during which we are obliged to watch him at length smashing up his caravan - great role modelling for children! No doubt the justification would be that he too is being true to his ego and his mood (Dahl would have been a lot more subtle). Most mystifyingly, the dialogue throughout is clogged up with the persistent use of the word 'cuss/cussed' ... ??? !!! Presumably to indicate that the characters are swearing, without actually offending our ears in the process (which begs an interesting debate about language and meaning, but I won't go into that). This distracting 'cuss' word even appears as graffiti at one point – am I supposed to find that funny? - sorry, but is was just boring. Oh, and by the way, as usual with this type of big-budget children’s film, the goodies all have American accents, and the baddies have English accents.
This was supposed to be an end-of-half-term treat for our two boys. Suffice to say the five year old dragged me out before the film ended, and I was glad to have an excuse to leave (I have only ever left one film before the end in 30 years of cinema-going). Our seven year old was bored. I did not see my husband smile once during the film. We all agreed it had been a waste of time and money and couldn’t wait to get home to eradicate these poor imitations of Dahl’s much-loved characters in our minds by listening again to our wonderful recording of the author reading his own original version of the story.
The verdict - save your money (and the petrol) - order the audiobook and curl up with your family on the sofa for a far superior experience."