Headphoning it In: “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Reimagined


Source: Medium

Madee Sadozai

For those of us who feel like stir-crazy wild animals right now, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a perfect escape from reality. In a symmetrical stop-motion world, Mr. Fox is trapped within his unfulfilling life and, along with his woodland family and friends, must face the consequences of breaking his animalistic patterns. My fascination with lone male protagonists whose worlds revolve entirely around them, until it all comes crashing down in an existential display of self-doubt, continues with this underrated Wes Anderson gem. While the trailer  markets the movie to a young audience, the comedic quirky fox in a tweed suit is much more than a talking animation. His feelings of suppression and a loss of self-control embody the current atmosphere in a surprisingly moving way and I cannot recommend this film enough. While the message it hopes to convey is really impactful, it is the score and soundtrack that allow Fantastic Mr. Fox to shine.

Renowned film composer Alexandre Desplat has most recently been acknowledged for his scores for The Shape of Water and Little Women, and has frequently collaborated with Wes Anderson on his more mainstream projects. However, his work on Fantastic Mr. Fox is an unparalleled musical accompaniment (Desplat was one of my most listened to artists on Spotify solely because of this score). There is a simplicity to his music that highlights the depth of each scene, and I couldn’t imagine the film without Desplat’s signature touch. The soundtrack is also heavily influenced by classic rock bands like The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, which brings a certain warmth to this story and its multidimensional characters. In a feeble attempt to match this movie’s musical mastery, I present my own ‘fantastic’ classic rock-inspired playlist.


A yearning for freedom and wanting more from the world are imperative sentiments for Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Animals’ “Inside – Looking Out” alike. This track has high energy, in-your-face bravado with a hypnotic bass and incomparable 60s funk rhythm. The song explodes with an impassioned savagery, mirrored in Mr. Fox’s yearning for a life beyond the mundane.

GUM takes his track “Out In The World” and injects it with palpable nostalgia. This song inspires a particularly adventurous nature that accompanies the yearning for memories past. With its funky guitar riffs and mellow tune, it is an uplifting moment to distract from themes of curiosity and angst.

“Arrow Through Me” by Wings is an angry love letter that acknowledges the faults and flaws of a relationship. This complex narrative pushes the boundaries of a relationship and, for Mr. Fox, embodies the selfless sacrifices he must make for the greater good of his fellow animals that depend on him. Sonically, the saxophone-heavy track coupled with Paul McCartney’s iconic voice completes this jazzy musing.

Beyond their aptly named band, Foxygen’s “Shuggie” meshes together an addictive groove that experiences stark tonal shifts throughout the track. Its stability is only found within its psychedelic influence, and the song’s contradictory nature brings to light an entrenched theme of simultaneously wanting to fit in and stand out.

“I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” perfectly fits into Fantastic Mr. Fox’s narrative, especially given The Beach Boys’ influence on the film’s actual soundtrack. This song takes its place on the legendary psychedelic pop album, “Pet Sounds,” as a self-realized confession of doubt and frustration. These emotions trigger a deeply rooted dissatisfaction with life that sustains Mr. Fox’s reluctance to accept change.

Radiohead’s “Ill Wind” is comprised of about four sentence fragments, yet is able to ebb and flow with waves of emotion. In his signature, soulful falsetto, Thom Yorke’s crooning is reminiscent of the solitude of a barren wasteland. The most impactful scene in Fantastic Mr. Fox, where the titular character is able to confront his greatest fear, evokes a similar existential feeling that gives me chills every time.

“Drover” by Bill Callahan is a personal favorite of mine and I will forever regard it as the best folk song of all time. Its minimal orchestration tells the tale of growth and pain within a wild country, and its lyrics are rife with natural imagery. Much like the cyclical growth undertaken by Mr. Fox in his self-discovery, this absolutely stellar track builds upon itself before it brings resonant closure to an epic tale.