The Fantastic Truth

By Matthew Taylor Wilson, via Septagon Studios

By Matthew Taylor Wilson, via Septagon Studios

This fantastic print (pun intended) is a nod to Wes Anderson’s 2009 film, Fantastic Mr. Fox. The first time I saw the movie, I didn’t know that it was based on the book by Roald Dahl until I was at the theatre and saw his name on the poster. Having read a few of his books when I was a kid, I knew that the story was sure to be most excellent…and given that I was already sold on the concept of a stop-motion animated film by the perpetually brilliant Anderson, my expectations were high.

Of course, I was not disappointed; it is a lovely film for children and adults alike. (This is the kind of movie I would want my kids to see, if I planned on having any.) The story: Mr. Fox lives in a fox hole with Mrs. Fox and their son Ash. Fox used to be a thief but he gave it up for his wife a long time ago. Now he writes a column for his local newspaper and, finding that he wants something more, he decides (rather impulsively) to buy a new house in a tree. He moves his family out of their fox hole and starts stealing again, from three local farmers: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. At first, he is ecstatic and enlivened by his return to thievery, but the farmers soon catch on and ultimately corner him at his tree one night, attacking and shooting off his tail.

As Mr. Fox mourns for his tail in his tree, the farmers try to root him out, so Mr. Fox and his family start digging into the ground, and keep digging until they are far underground and safe from the farmers. The story continues, but this point in the film marks a poignant exchange between Mr. Fox and his wife. She asks him why he had to start stealing again, after he promised that he would never go back to being a thief. He responds by telling her the truth, that he is a wild animal. It is not an explicit statement, but he is telling her that it is in his nature as a fox to steal and that it is not something he can help. Mrs. Fox responds by telling him that he is also a husband and a father, as though those characteristics should override his fundamental nature.

It is a great moment in the film, and (like most of Anderson’s classic lines) it has stuck with me over the years. So a few months ago, the above print caught my eye on Pinterest and I immediately added it to my love board without pause. And as I continue with my featured Pinterest love fest of 2014, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to honour this pin.

Why do I love this print so much? Because it is a fantastic (and foxy) truth. We are all wild animals in that we have inherent qualities that bubble to the surface and show themselves in our actions and interactions with others. I remember leaving the theatre after the movie ended and driving home with a friend, talking excitedly about how much we loved the film, and how we both admired Mr. Fox’s response to his wife. We agreed it was a fantastic message – so what if we are wild animals who cannot help but be who we are? These inherent characteristics define us, for better or worse.

Later in the film, Mr. Fox gives his fellow animals a rousing speech, highlighting how they are each unique and wild animals that can bring something to the table in their great battle with Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Each animal can contribute, even down to the tiny mouse. It is a great message for the kiddies, but possibly even better for all the confused twenty-somethings (and maybe older?) out there who have no idea how to reconcile who they are and what they do.

A few final notes: The above print was created by designer Matthew Taylor Wilson, who incidentally has a few others that I love now that I have spent some time pursuing his site. His design work is available to buy on Society6, which is seemingly an awesome online market for artists. I suggest you check it out!

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3 comments

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