Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Review

19Jun12

Wes Anderson (imdb.com) hits awkward awesomeness again with Moonrise Kingdom (imdb.com). Anderson, who directed such cult films as Bottle Rocket (imdb.com), Rushmore (imdb.com), and The Royal Tenenbaums (imdb.com), is known for writing/directing films that are chock full of unique, interesting characters that make you squirm from their sheer awkwardness. That may sound like a negative. It isn’t. I love Wes Anderson films for the way his characters interact with each other.

Being an Eagle Scout, I may have some sort of bias towards this movie (I can connect to a lot of what they’re talking about), but Moonrise Kingdom is hands down my favorite Wes Anderson film. 

So, what makes it my favorite? I can boil that down to three things: the cast, the cinematography, and the colors.

The characters in Moonrise Kingdom stay true to Anderson’s style. What makes it even better is the knock-down, stand-out cast that portray the cast of characters. Bill Murray (imdb.com) has been in a number of Anderson’s films, and fit the bill perfectly (all puns intended). Ed Norton (imdb.com) is one of those actors that can play any genre, and he makes me wish my scout masters were like “Scout Master Ward.” Two words: Bruce Willis (imdb.com), need I say more? Frances McDormand (imdb.com), Tilda Swinton (imdb.com), Jason Schwartzman (imdb.com), and Harvey Keitel (imdb.com) round out the all-star cast. Moonrise Kingdom also introduces two actors who seem to be made for Wes Anderson films.  Jared Gilman (imdb.com), who plays “Sam,” the main character, has the quirky look that Anderson is known for; and Kara Hayward (imdb.com), who plays “Suzy,” the love interest, pulls off the semi-depressed, dark female character perfectly.

 

The camera-work in Moonrise Kingdom is flawless. People say that “when your job goes unnoticed, you’re doing it right.” This film is the perfect example of doing it right. The cinematography is full of camera moves and subtle changes, but you have to look really hard to actually be able to find it. Robert Yeoman (imdb.com), who has shot all of Wes Anderson’s films, has a seamless style that makes telling the story easier. And while his camera movements may be unnoticed by the audience, they are by no means unnecessary.

Finally, the color. True to all of Wes Anderson’s films, Moonrise Kingdom is full of vibrant, detailed colors. The way his films are colored is one thing I always love. Usually I think the colors are a little over-the-top, but with Moonrise Kingdom it feels justified. The whole story is so off-the-wall that having the hyper exaggerated colors works. It makes the scenes feel more intense, and it helps to tell the story by defining the characters (which is typical of Anderson’s films).

My dad isn’t the type to enjoy the quirky, awkward comedy type of movie. I took him to see Moonrise Kingdom on Fathers’ Day, and he loved it. It moves a little slow at the start, but towards the middle it really starts to quicken the pace; and that’s when he started getting into it. Overall, I think Anderson has another cult hit. It’s got something for everyone (movie snobs like me included). An amazing cast, great cinematography, and vibrant colors are just a few of the things that makes Moonrise Kingdom worth a watch.

Here’s the trailer if you haven’t a clue what this post is about:

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