Wes Anderson got an excellent taste of the world of Roald Dahl when he created the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009. Now, 14 years later, Anderson is bringing more of the world of Roald Dahl to life with a series of short stories airing on Netflix based on The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.
After a fantastic run on the film festival circuit, the short film The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar was added to Netflix on the 27th of September. The 37-minute short details the story of Henry Sugar, who becomes fascinated with the story of a man who can see without needing his eyes. The story is told in multiple layers, with Ralph Fiennes starring as Roald Dahl himself, narrating the story of Henry Sugar (Benedict Cumberbatch), who is narrating the story of Dr Chatterjee (Dev Patel), who is narrating the story of Imdad Khan (Ben Kingsley), all of whom are also narrating their own story and happily breaking the fourth wall so that they can speak to the audience.
The Swan was released next, on the 28th of September, detailing the story of a small and brilliant young boy tormented by two large and highly idiotic bullies. For this 17-minute short film, Ralph Fiennes reprises his role as Roald Dahl. At the same time, Ruper Friend stands in as the story’s narrator, who is hilariously standing front and centre of each frame. The story itself is, unfortunately, a lot less lighthearted.
The Ratcatcher is next, on the 29th of September, and tells the story of a rat-infested English village where a rat catcher tells a reporter/editor and a mechanic named Claud about his brilliant plan to outwit and catch his prey. This time Ralph Fiennes has taken on the role of “Rat Man” while Rupert Friend drops the narrator for Claud, and Richard Ayoade pulls up the rear as the Editor for another 17-minute fiasco.
Poisonis the last to be released of the four short stories and tells the tale of a panic-stricken man when he discovers that a poisonous snake is asleep in his bed with him. For this 17-minute adventure, Ralph Fiennes is again Roald Dahl, while Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley and Dev Patel return as Harry, Dr. Ganderbai and Woods, respectively.
Each part of the four-part short film anthology is brilliantly written and executed, sometimes choosing to use lines straight out of Roald Dahl’s books and showing Wes Anderson’s flexibility, taking four very different stories and turning them into short film masterpieces in their own right.
After the tremendous success of this fantastic short film series, it will be exciting to see what Wes Anderson decides to take on next as he journeys further into the magical and magnificent world of Roald Dahl, becoming the best filmmaker to bring his stories to life in a fascinating and captivating way.