Movie review: Moonrise Kingdom

June 25, 2012 – It’s a beautiful thing when a Wes Anderson film comes a theater near you.

Not only will the talented writer/director entertain you with a creative and original story and an amazing soundtrack, but you’ll also get a break from the Hollywood mundane and the producers who’d rather bank on remakes and sequels that are fair less entertaining.

Anderson rounded up some of his usual cast of actors for his latest “Moonrise Kingdom”, the comedy-drama love story about two unique 12 year olds who fall in love and run off together. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are back, along with a talented group of first timers, including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand. But it’s the kids who really steal this show, led by the wonderful Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who both made their film debuts in the movie.

It’s summer 1965 as the film opens, on a little Island somewhere in New England. As Sam and Suzy set off on their camping adventure, an epic storm is brewing and an all-out manhunt is orchestrated to find them.

A word of precaution: Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is not for the closed-minded. Unfortunately, some viewers have panned it as “child pornography”, which is utterly ridiculous, just because of a scene on a beach that has the actors swimming in their very modest underwear, and briefly discussing French kissing.

It also didn’t appeal to the senior citizen crowd I shared it with at a recent Saturday matinée. Besides myself and a few other younger folks, the blue-haired female brigade comprised most of the theater. I’m not sure what they were expecting to see, or if they viewed any previews before buying a ticket, but several commented that it was “the worst movie they ever saw.” At least they said it with a smile.

They failed to see the refreshing storyline and dialogue that isn’t like any other movie I’ve seen. It may not have been the best movie choice for them, but saying it’s the worst is too harsh. Anderson’s characters are definitely out there, just like they are in most of his films (think the “Royal Tenenbaums”, “Rushmore” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”, to name a few). Still, as offbeat as these characters seem, they are perfectly believable too. That is something extremely difficult to pull off. Too bad those cute little old ladies couldn’t see that.

For them, the good news is that there will always be another unimaginative film on the horizon to please their seasoned palates. As for me, I’m thrilled that Wes Anderson makes movies like this. Thankfully, critics and other viewers seem to agree. Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes show that 94% of the critics liked “Moonrise Kingdom”, and 92% of the viewing audience felt the same.

There is hope for creativity, after all.

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A girl trying to live the dream.

7 thoughts on “Movie review: Moonrise Kingdom”

  1. I saw this movie a few weeks ago and loved it. It made me feel nostalgic for that childlike sense of adventure and omniscience. It was offbeat, but in the best sense of the word. It was different, and I think that’s what a lot of movie-viewers want.

  2. Great review, first one I’ve read that addresses some of the more awkward scenes of the movie and I agree that it’s totally ridiculous to call it “child pornography”. Just because a movie doesn’t tip-toe around sensitive issues doesn’t make it vulgar, it just forces us to think about parts of life which aren’t always dinner conversation material. I do agree with you though in that I loved the off beat quirkiness of the characters and for me at least the film did a great job of making such odd people seem so real and believable.

    Anyways I’m glad you enjoyed it too, there are a lot people I’ve talked with who didn’t like it at all and I can only assume that it’s because of Anderson’s polarizing style. Either that or they don’t have a soul.

    Feel free to check out my review if you like and I look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂

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