Fantastic Mr. Fox is proof that Alexandre Desplat is just plain wonderful if you haven’t had enough proof. You just can’t deny the amount of charm and character this score has. It has themes for pretty much every character or group of characters and the unique instrumentation to back up the vivid and wondrous visuals that Wes Anderson has crafted.
This release boasts an additional 48 minutes of music from the original soundtrack release, which was great to begin with. In short, between the CD release and this digital release you can own the complete recording sessions to this score. What I love about the score is that Morricone is homaged in multiple areas and while you may think that spaghetti western references would be out of place here they aren’t. They fit perfectly within the framework of the film and find a way to make it feel like they belong. Well, the western stuff is mainly used for only one character, but Desplat brings it back at the end of the film.
The instrumentation is what sets this score apart. Along the same lines of what Hans Zimmer did for Sherlock Holmes we have unique blending of instruments like the plucking of a banjo with a cello swooning in the background. You get the countryside element immediately but it brings out the personalities of the characters and essentially bring the puppets to life.
This was the first time Wes Anderson worked with Desplat. Mark Mothersbaugh was his previous “go to” composer, but Desplat was just a perfect fit for this film. This film isn’t just plain silliness like the trailer made it out to be, and if you’ve seen Anderson’s previous work you know he doesn’t just do plain silliness. Alexander Desplat is an immense talent who took some time to grow on me, but has now risen to the top of composers working today. He is making his presence known even in the mainstream areas. He just did the second Twilight film, New Moon and now is set to finish up the Harry Potter series. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a true delight and this second release was a complete surprise and should be treasured.