Soundtrack Review: FANTASTIC MR. FOX
I cannot say enough good things about FANTASTIC MR. FOX, and my praise filters all the way down to the soundtrack. From the silly to the emotional to the hilarious, this album is the perfect companion to a film that is inventive and as funny as it is touching.
Alexandre Desplat (JULIE & JULIA, NEW MOON) has quickly become one of my favorite composers and may be one of the hardest working considering he has composed almost seven films this year alone. For MR. FOX, Desplat’s score is whimsical and uplifting, which mirrors the style and feel of the film.
The collection almost reminded me of the songs and score of a classic Disney cartoon (ROBIN HOOD, anyone?), particularly when listening to the songs by Burl Ives. The lyrics are almost comical when you really listen to them, but they are catchy and help move the film along as Mr. Fox and his friends continue on their madcap adventure.
But it’s not all fun and silliness as we also get a beautiful ballad, “Love," by Nancy Adams. The tracks from George Delerue give the film an almost classic feel among all the light-heartedness. “Une Petite Ile” and “Le Grand Choral” sound like they could play in a period film and work just as well here.
The Beach Boys' “Heroes and Villains” and “Ol’ Man River” and the Rolling Stones' “Street Fighting Man” add a bit of pop to an otherwise mainly all-composed album. “Let Her Dance” by the Bobby Fuller Four makes you want to tap your feet ,and watching Mr. Fox and friends dance to it makes you want to get up and dance along with them.
Mr. Fox (George Clooney) himself comes across as a music lover, having his portable radio on him while he is exercising or preparing to give an important toast. Even Mr. Fox’s son, Ash (Jason Schartzman), has a radio that he tunes in to from time to time. I love that the music is not just for us as the audience, but is also shown in context of the characters themselves.
My favorite song on the album is due to the fact that the scene in which it plays in the movie CRACKS ME UP and has continued to do so, even days after having seen it. “Fantastic Mr. Fox AKA Petey’s Song” is not only a funny song on its own with its random words and improvised lyrics, but the response it garners from Petey’s (Jarvis Cocker) boss (farmer Bean) is hilarious.
FANTASTIC MR. FOX is a wonderful film that will leave you feeling good, and the soundtrack only continues that feeling well after you’ve left the theater. Word to the wise, buy the full album (I know Amazon has it) because iTunes only has tracks 1-15 and trust me, you will want the other 10 tracks.
This soundtrack is available through ABKCO Records.
1. “American Empirical Pictures”*
2. “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” - The Wellingtons
3. “Mr. Fox in the Fields”*
4. “Heroes and Villains” - The Beach Boys
5. “Fooba Wooba John” - Burl Ives
6. “Boggis, Bunce, and Bean”*
7. “Jimmy Squirrel and Co.”*
8. “Love” - Nancy Adams
9. “Buckeye Jim” - Burl Ives
10. “High-Speed French Train”*
11. “Whack-Bat Majorette”*
12. “The Grey Goose” - Burl Ives
13. “Bean’s Secret Cider Cellar”*
14. “Une Petite Île” - Georges Delerue
15. “Street Fighting Man” - The Rolling Stones
16. "Fantastic Mr. Fox AKA Petey’s Song” - Jarvis Cocker
17. “Night and Day” - Art Tatum
18. “Kristofferson’s Theme”*
19. “Just Another Dead Rat in a Garbage Pail (behind a Chinese Restaurant)”*
20. “Le Grand Choral” - Georges Delerue
21. “Great Harrowsford Square”*
22. “Stunt Expo 2004″*
23. “Canis Lupus”*
24. “Ol’ Man River” - The Beach Boys
25. “Let Her Dance” - Bobby Fuller Four
*Music Composed, Conducted, and Produced by Alexandre Desplat