I like Wes Anderson’s films, although I wouldn’t go so far as saying I’m his biggest fan. My main problem is that I have mixed feelings about his earlier work. I will admit that I thoroughly enjoyed The Fantastic Mr. Fox and was hoping the good things I heard about Moonrise Kingdom were true.
Thankfully they are.
Moonrise Kingdom is the story of a young boy scout and a girl who meet at a school play in a small New England town. They soon have to part ways but keep in touch via letters. Their friendship turns to love, and when the opportunity arises, they run away together. Shortly after the scoutmaster discovers his scout is missing, and the parents of the girl discover their daughter has disappeared. The town gathers a search party to find the two runaways.
Moonrise Kingdom has that distinct tone that clearly identifies it as a Wes Anderson film. The “Wes Anderson” tone is a distinct and unique combination of specific acting styles, characters, cinematography, music and humour. Wes Anderson nails the tone that he’s used to great effect in other movies perfectly in Moonrise Kingdom. Needless to say if you’re a fan of Wes Anderson’s earlier work, then you can just stop here and go see the movie. If you need a bit more reason to go see this movie, then keep on reading.
The story in Moonrise Kingdom starts off fairly straight forward, and gets increasingly over the top, without you ever going “oh no, that could never happen”. Each time something ridiculous occurs, you laugh, or just go with it, because Wes Anderson completely succeeds with pulling you into the world of the film. Having said that, things never get so crazy that they seem out of place, but rather that they are crazy enough to make you wonder if/how a character survived that scene.
The characters in Moonrise Kingdom all carry a fair amount of baggage and eccentricity (yes, some of them are fairly odd). This is something that’s fairly consistent throughout most of his movies, which is probably why I keep coming back to them. I’m not going to mention the specifics, because half the fun of the movie is finding out about each characters little quirks. What I am going to say is each of the main characters are interesting and usually quite funny. Wes Anderson made sure not to waste any screen time with throw away main characters, and each of them brings something to the story. The acting is all top notch, which is to be expected considering we have the likes of Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand.
I also can’t help but sing praises for this movie’s cinematography and sound. There are many shots which are used in such a way as to make something ordinary hilariously funny, and the sound and music usually have the same effect. I’m not much of a sound guy but I couldn’t help but appreciate some of the subtle but brilliant moments this movie has.
Movie rating: This movie is distinctly Wes Anderson. If you like his work, you shouldn’t even be here reading this, but should be booking your tickets. If you’ve never seen any of his movies, I would recommend this as his best work. If you don’t like his movies, then my advice would be to give this one a skip because it’s safe to say you definitely won’t enjoy it.