Whatever I found whimsical and interesting about Wes Anderson’s early films (mainly Rushmore to be fair) had worn its welcome remarkably thin by the the time The Darjeeling Limited came around. They were always nice to look at, and the soundtracks were fun but the parade of actors I usually quite like being dull and self obsessed was enough to drive me mad. So I went to see The Fantastic Mr Fox expecting to be a wee bit irritated by it, but looking forward to some hopefully competent stop motion animation.

All I can say is, its a golden age for kids films. Alongside Up, and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, The Fantastic Mr Fox makes it possible for kids to believe that every film ever released will be great. It appears that by making an adaptation, making a kids film, and probably making a laborious stop-motion film has released the best in Wes. He even manages to make George Clooney at his smuggest sound fun and funny. What often comes across as laboured quirkiness in his live action films fit in perfectly in this hand tooled world. Anderson after all makes sure that the predominant font in his films is Futura, a remarkably twee touch in live action, a piece of perfectly sensible set design in animation. This is a world of talking animals, font fascism is neither here nor there.

Basically the beauty of the Fantastic mr Fox can be boiled down to its use of Jarvis Cocker. Anderson has often stuck anachronistic musicians in his films, and Cocker, off the boil and aging certainly fits the bit. And a model of Cocker, playing Petey one of the villains henchmen could be a bit too precious to be true. It certainly adds Cocker to short list of musicians who have been portrayed by puppets (Cliff Richard Jnr and The Shadows Jnr in Thunderbirds Are Go being the finest example). And as Cocker capers mid film for a short song in the honour of the Fox, it could have been remarkably self indulgent. But instead its a remarkably silly song, performed with gusto and ends with a wonderful takedown by Michael Gambon, who says its not very good. And he’s right. The song isn’t that good. But its lively, fun and funny. And by pushing these traits to the front, The Fantastic Mr Fox becomes Wes Anderson’s best film and a welcome addition to the increasing number of cinematic Dahl adaptations.

Though there will be a porn version called the Fantastic Mr Fucks.