Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom Review



I would pay so much money to be in Wes Anderson's mind. It seems like a strange other worldly place that no one else on Earth could understand, but man would it be a hell of a ride. I've only seen 1 Wes Anderson movie before Moonrise Kingdom which was The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Which while I liked it, I thought it could have been alot better.

Moonrise Kingdom is about two 12 year olds who conspire to run away together and do just that. They are Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward). They are chased by Suzi's emotionally distant parents Walt and Laura, played by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand. Suzi's parents seem to love her and care for her as parents do, but at the same time they are distant and don't try and emphasize with how she feels. They're also chased by a troop of scouts headed by the well meaning, good natured Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton) and the simple, slightly dim-witted police chief Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) who is having an affair with Suzi's mom.

This movie is gorgeous. The directing is absolutely fantastic with nice smooth camera movements, especially pans, Anderson LOVES to pan the camera. The locations are beautiful and nice to look at, with nature being almost another character. The pacing and editing is brilliant making the movie almost seamless and one scene flowing into another, with makes the 90 minutes fly by. I almost wish it was longer so I could see what happens to the characters and how they grow even more.

The characters are brilliant. With the two leads being amazingly written. Never have I seen such expertly written kids, the actions they take seem like actions that children would take, planned out but not too planned out, they have a general sense of what they want to do, but never stop to consider the consequences of their actions. The movie treats them like adults and their dialogue especially reflects this. The kids are probably smarter than most of the adults in the movie. The love between Sam and Suzi is treated by the adults as child love, like the kids don't understand what they're doing. But the movie doesn't treat it like this. It treats it like real love between two human beings, many a scene is between Sam and Suzi bonding and figuring out more about each other. What are their hobbies? Why did they want to run away? What are their flaws? The movie tackles all this in a respectful manner, not once does the movie suggest that their love is false or childish, it treats it like genuine love and that works greatly in its advantage.

The supporting characters play out well. The police Captain is dim-witted and despite the affair is a nice guy who worries about the safety of the people he watches over, even adopting Sam at the end of the movie. Edward Norton's scout master could have easily been the villain of the movie, but instead he's just a guy who greatly enjoys doing what he does and is really worried about Sam, he wants nothing more than to find him and make sure he is safe. Really the film doesn't even have an antagonist. Besides maybe one of Sam's fellow scouts, but really the parents, nor the police captain, nor the scout master are villains in any sense of the word. Their good people who just want the kids back safely, they are doing what any good parent or authority figure would do and they don't do it with evil intent.

The setting is the 60s...or at least Wes Anderson's version of the 60s. His movies, from what I've seen, remind me of a David Lynch movie. Where, yes, technically they're set on the Earth at some point in our time, but it always feels like its in another dimension. Eveything is just sort of other worldly, like its here, but a different here, like Suzi's house. The dialogue is like this too. The children in this movie speak like adults. They say things like extremely intelligent adults who know exactly what they are discussing. And that, along with the strange setting, work completely to the film's advantage, giving it it's own unique feel and look.

I loved this movie. It was funny, charming, and quirky, but not quirky like they're doing it on purpose to appeal to some sort of demographic, but quirky because it is, its just how it works, the movie wouldn't of worked if anyone else had done it. It takes a mine like Wes Anderson to make this movie the right way. Its funny enough to laugh at, but not too funny to where you don't take it seriously when it gets serious.

If your like me when you heard the plot you probably thought it was silly. Yeah right two 12 year olds in love? They don't know what they're doing there's no way it'd work. But your wrong, as was I. Moonrise Kingdom destroys that notion. Is it a flawless movie? Probably not, if you or I or anyone looked deep enough I'm sure something would be found, but you know what...I don't want to, watching this movie was an amazing experience for me, I enjoyed every second of it, at no time was I bored or disbelieve it. Its an honest movie, what you see is what you get and what I got was an excellent time and I hope you do too.

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