I’m a big Wes Anderson fan, if I made a list of my favorite Directors/Writers he would rank pretty highly. I’ve liked all his movies, even Life Aquatic which lots of people hated. When I first saw the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom I immediately knew it would be a movie I’d see at the theaters. It’s not playing nationwide yet, but luckily Austin is one of the cities its showing in now.
Moonrise Kingdom is basically a love story about two kids who separately are not happy in their current situations, so they run away to be with each other. Sam is an orphan who no one likes, so he escapes from his Khaki Scout troop and Suzy is a girl with anger issues who their parents believe is “troubled”. And of course when they run away, shenanigans ensue. There are some other side stories here too, but I want to keep this spoiler free so I won’t mention them.
As soon as the movie starts you can tell its a Wes Anderson film. It has that same trademark look, feel and sound that he is known for. I thought the score was really well done and I like how he incorporated it into the film. While its not knee slapper funny, it is a smart script and definitely has some laughs. It’s that typical Anderson dry sense of humor, and it works here. The cast was also great. It was the first movie for the two kids but they nailed their roles. Even though I haven’t really liked Bruce Willis and Ed Norton in a while, I thought they were great here. Willis was a great choice for an older cop on a small island town and Norton was solid was the scout leader. It’s a Wes Anderson movie so of course Bill Murray has to be in it. He basically plays another sad old man, but that type of role just works for him these days. Frances McDormand plays his wife, her bits with the megaphone were great. And along with the humor, this movie has heart too. You definitely root for Sam and Suzy even if they are runaways.
Moonrise Kingdom lived up to the critics praise in my opinion. Probably my favorite overall film I’ve seen thus far in 2012. It’s a must see for Wes Anderson films, but if you don’t like his style this won’t change your opinion.
And since I ranked Pixar movies yesterday, I’ll go ahead and rank Anderson films (which was also difficult, was torn between Moonrise and Rushmore for #2):
1. The Royal Tenenbaums
2. Moonrise Kingdom
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox
5. Darjeeling Limited
6. Life Aquatic
*I did not rank Bottle Rocket because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. I do remember liking it though, will have to re-watch.