Movie fans probably already know if they will like the new film Moonrise Kingdom (2012). If you like director Wes Anderson‘s other films, you will probably like Moonrise Kingdom. It has a similar look to his other films and his usual quirky characters. So the most helpful question for a review is: Where does Moonrise Kingdom fall on the scale of Wes Anderson films?
Moonrise Kingdom follows the exploits of a boy and girl who run away together while parents, a sheriff, and a scout troop search for the two. The colorful movie stars Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as the two runaways, along with Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and Anderson-movie-regular Bill Murray. There are smaller appearances by Harvey Keitel, another Anderson regular Jason Schwartzman, and a funny narrating role by Bob Balaban dressed in red. The movie has the usual Anderson touch of using classic songs to provide mood, and he uses some Hank Williams recordings like “Kaw-Liga.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I have enjoyed all of Wes Anderson’s movies. I think Rushmore (1998) is a wonderful film, and I also thoroughly enjoyed The Royal Tennenbaums (2001). I also enjoyed his one foray so far into animation and using another author’s story in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009). I liked his debut movie, Bottle Rocket (1996), although he has surpassed that work. For me, Moonrise Kingdom did not exceed Rushmore or The Royal Tennenbaums, but I enjoyed it much more than The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2001).
Moonrise Kingdom has a more linear story than some of his movies, like the intertwining The Royal Tennenbaums. So in some ways it may seem like a smaller film than his other works. But it has genuine laugh-out-loud moments while also being a lyrical memory of early 1960s childhood innocence. Overall, it is thoroughly enjoyable.
Conclusion? Moonrise Kingdom may not blow you away, but it is a welcome entertaining escape from the summer blockbusters. In the following video, Bill Murray takes you on a tour of the film.
Other Reviews Because Why Should You Trust Me? Rotten Tomatoes currently has Moonrise Kingdom with an excellent 95% critics rating and a 92% audience rating. Joe Williams at the St. Louis Dispatch argues that it is the best movie of the year so far. Boo Allen at the Denton Record Chronicle (TX) is one of the few dissenters, claiming that the attempts at charming dialogue passages “end up sounding quaint, forced and often ridiculous.”
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