Friday, August 13, 2010

We are all related

This scene from The Fantastic Mr. Fox is my favorite movie scene of all time.

Throughout the movie, the main characters point out that they are "wild animals." And further, that Mr. Fox has a phobia of wolves.

The claim they are "wild animals" is rather absurd. The only times they even remotely resemble wild animals is when they eat or when Mr. Fox and Mr. Badger fight. The rest of the time they are completely humanized down to the last detail (they wear clothes, walk upright, and play complicated sports).

In fact, the only animal in the entire movie that is not humanized is the wolf in this scene. The wolf does not respond to the refined attempts Mr. Fox makes to communicate with him (speaking in English, Latin, and French). There seems to be a disconnect between the wild animal and the fox wearing a corduroy suit and bandit mask and riding a motorbike with side car. This makes sense to us. But when Mr. Fox raises his fist, the disconnection is broken and we witness profound connection between two very related animals (as Mr. Fox says: "Canis Lupus, Vulpes Vulpes").

To express the feeling of connection to that which is wild is difficult (though Ralph Waldo Emerson has tried). When I was young(er), I was hunting in the Palouse. The sun was setting and I was walking back to our rally point. As I neared the top of a ridge, I turned around and looked out over the valley. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling that came over me except to say that I wanted to commune with what lived there. So, I howled. And coyotes from miles around answered me. For at least twenty minutes we went back and forth. I would howl and then pause to listen to them. And they would howl and then pause to listen to me. I'll never forget it (and I've always been bothered by coyote hunting since then).

This scene in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, attempts to express that feeling. It does it well.


  1. I like this post. I think its cool that your blogging. I haven't been lately, but its fun reading yours. Hope the East coast is treating you well

  2. Nice reflection on this scene of the movie. Keep on blogging!
    I just watched Fantastic Mr. Fox and became incredibly happy during this particular scene. I'd like to embed this clip on my website, but cant seem to find out how.
    Is there any way you can send it to me?
    Thanks in advance

  3. I just watched this movie for the 2nd or 3rd time this morning, and was reminded how amazing this scene is. Because of how moved I was, I decided that I would try and scour the net, hoping to find just a single screen cap of this exact moment -- and to my surprise I find an entire blog devoted to everything this scene made me feel. Kudos!

  4. Ditto... Just found your blog while Google-ing the wolf screenshot as I wanted it for my Facebook profile! Mr Anderson did something special there.