Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wes Anderson Week: 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

Note: I first published this on Oct. 25. I have brought this blog entry back because the film finally opened yesterday. Perhaps I can persuade you to see it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome to Wes Anderson Week. Unless there is breaking news deemed more important, we will focus on music from Anderson's films. We begin with his upcoming release, 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'.

The movie will be out on Thanksgiving, and the soundtrack hits the stores Nov. 3. The film, based on a Roald Dahl book, is Anderson's first foray into animation. It stars the voices of Anderson regulars Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Willem Defoe, as well as George Clooney and Meryl Streep. The biggest disappointment musically, for the second straight time, is the absence of Mark Mothersbaugh. Personally, I think this seems like a perfect project for the playful Mothersbaugh. In his place is Alexandre Desplat. This composer's film credentials are quite impressive. Recent movies include 'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium', 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' and 'The Queen'.

The Rolling Stones make a brief appearance on the soundtrack, but that's it for the usual suspects. The Beach Boys are here a couple of times, as well as Jarvis Cocker of Pulp fame. For the young and young at heart, Burl Ives has three songs that first appeared on his 1974 album, 'Burl Ives Sings Little White Duck and Other Children's Favorites'. I'll bet that one was played a lot around the Anderson house when he was a kid. The collection is rounded out with songs by jazz pianist Art Tatum, The Wellingtons, The Bobby Fuller Four and Nancy Adams.

This is far from Anderson's strongest soundtrack but, based on the trailers below, I have a good feeling about this film. Although in a new genre, it still feels like old-school Anderson. His work has been, admittedly, pretty spotty since 'The Royal Tennenbaums', but I'm excited to see this one with my kids on Thanksgiving evening. By then both of them will know and love these songs.

Burl Ives - Fooba Wooba John (mp3)
Burl Ives - The Grey Goose (mp3)
Burl Ives - Buckeye Jim (mp3)
The Beach Boys - Heroes and Villains (mp3)
The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man (mp3)
The Bobby Fuller Four - Let Her Dance (mp3)

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