'Fantastic Mr. Fox' becomes the second animated movie to join the Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection has been around since 1984, making 2014 the thirtieth anniversary for the film collection that all but invented the modern idea of DVD bonuses. During those three decades, as the collection added "important classic and contemporary films," they included a single animated feature, despite releasing nearly 700 movies on Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray.
That changes with the movie with 700 on the movie case's spine in the collection, which will be released Feb. 18. Wes Anderson's adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox becomes the second animated feature to join the prestigious collection.
Criterion Collection, February 18, 2014, dual format Blu-ray/DVD (3 discs, 87 minutes, color, 1.85:1 ratio, English) Criterion store price $31.96
Correction: The original headline implied Fantastic Mr. Fox was the first animated feature in the collection. The Criterion Collection released an out of print Akira Laserdisc, making Fantastic Mr. Fox the second animated feature in the collection. Sorry for the error.
The release will feature a DVD and Blu-ray version of the movie, as well as a third disc of extra features. Anderson (who also voiced the character of Weasel in the movie) will provide an audio commentary. Other extras will include a storyboard animatic for the entire film, behind the scenes footage, interviews with cast and crew, photo galleries, a recorded reading of the original book by author Roald Dahl and "other ephemera." The movie will come with booklet featuring essays by and about Anderson, as well as a White Cape comic book only seen as a prop in the movie.
Fantastic Mr. Fox was released in 2009, a year with a strong reputation for animation, and Anderson's movie is one of the movies credited with helping to create this reputation. Though critically acclaimed, it was not a box office hit. It tells the story of a retired bird thief fox and his family and the trouble they get into with three local farmers when Mr. Fox decides to pull one last heist. The movie was animated using stop motion puppets.
Fantastic Mr. Fox won and was nominated for multiple critics' awards for Best Animated Feature (and Anderson produced animated acceptance speeches for them as his character Weasel, which will be available for viewing in the bonuses), and was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar (where it lost to Up) and Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture at the Ursa Majors (where it lost to Avatar).
Fantastic Mr. Fox was Anderson's sixth movie as a director. It will also be his sixth movie in the Criterion Collection. His seventh movie, Moonrise Kingdom (which made this contributor's top ten movie list for 2012), is the only movie of Anderson's released so far not a part of the collection. His eighth movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, will have a limited release later this year.
Besides his Animated Feature nomination, Anderson has been nominated twice for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars for The Royal Tennenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom. Fantastic Mr. Fox is his only adaption.
Though furries are rare in both the Criterion Collection (they do have a list of "animal" movies) and Anderson's filmography, the director has said he has ideas for further animated movies in the future.