Moonrise Kingdom (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | June 26, 2012 | Add Comments

3 1/2 stars

Sam and Suzy, two twelve year old kids run off together because of their love. Sam quits his Khaki Scout group. Suzy runs away from her parents and three brothers whom she doesn’t feel any connection with. (Sam is an orphan.) The Scout Master, the local cop, Suzy’s parents, the Scout Troop, and a dog try to find Sam and Suzy.

Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is a beautifully crafted quirk fest. The film is a blazing ninety four minutes. It moves along fairly quickly. None of the actors are typecast (Bruce Willis is the opposite of your average action cop). The set design has the feel of the 60s’, which is where it takes place. The music is like nothing you’ve ever heard before on film. But the real center of focus here is Anderson. Because while arguably the music is the core of the film, Anderson brings it all together.

The movie is not what you might expect (unless your an Anderson cinephile). The film follows two kids: Sam and Suzy. Each kid has their own story, and in that story are a few vignettes. For example, Sam was a Khaki Scout. (Was? If I explained that, it would be a minor spoiler.) At the very beginning of the film, we see Scout Master Ward checking on everything. While he is doing so, Anderson establishes the character. (Although here Ward is tough and gruff the character is later… well I won’t spoil it.) It is within these three or four minute vignettes, that we discover the life of Sam and Suzy. I think it’s a brilliant way to tell the story and speed us up on everything we need to know.A problem I had with the film was Bob Balaban’s Narrator. After we witness these wonderful episodes of loss, hope, loneliness, and more we meet a character with an indescribable voice, a red coat, glasses, and a lopsided, green hat. This character talks about New Penzance. However, nothing he says is essential to the plot. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Narrator wasn’t even in the original idea and was instead thrown in later because maybe ten more people would go see the movie because Balaban’s in it.

At the moment I would say this is the best film of the year (Men in Black 3, not so far behind), but it will probably be beat. The only other Anderson film I’ve seen is Fantastic Mr. Fox, so maybe I didn’t love the film because I’m not used to or accepting of Anderson’s style. But I doubt it. I found the quirky aspects joyful, at times even exhilarating. But I didn’t love the movie. It doesn’t quite feel like a film (which is okay). At times, however, this creates a false feeling of joy. The film is at times melancholy, but then a joke will be said by Bill Murray or Bruce Willis or Frances McDormand or Edward Norton or somebody else. Anderson wants so many feelings evoked at once, but it just doesn’t work. What works in the film? Creativeness has never been more lifelike.

My favorite character is Captain Sharp because he proves himself and while he doesn’t have the best past he does good.

My favorite scene is at the end of the film when the many scouts are chasing Sam because it mixes the many elements (comedy, drama, quirky action) perfectly.

Moonrise Kingdom is rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking and I agree.

It may not be for everyone (it’s not completely for me), but I did enjoy Wes Anderson’s latest. While it’s not perfection it’s certainly worth seeing. I wouldn’t mind watching it again.


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