29. Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13) - Runtime: 94 minutes
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Let's just get this out of the way: I really, really enjoy Wes Anderson's movies. In fact, there hasn't been one movie I haven't enjoyed that's he's done. I've been a fan since he made Rushmore and even though he's pretty much not grown as a filmmaker, he's still one of the more imaginative and creative filmmakers out there. I'd call Anderson comfort food - you know what you're going to get and it won't ever surprise you, but it won't disappoint you either.
Moonrise Kingdom isn't a disappointment either. The story follows two young lovers who have a myriad of problems at home. They decide to runaway together and set up camp in the wilderness on their home island in the face of a breaking storm. Like most Anderson films, the characters are quirky and slightly off from reality but there's a certain charm and likeability to their traits. And the cinematography and design of the whole movie is gorgeous. What's a little different from most of his movies this time around is the story is always driving forward to this inevitable ending confrontation with the kids and the authorities that is also represented by the storm hitting the island. Usually Anderson's movies meander a bit and linger on certain scenes. But here, there's this drum beat of a pace that keeps pounding until the climax of the movie.
And although the pacing and story is quite refreshing from this perspective, there's still the always charming and oddly bizarre characters that seem somewhat familiar. There's a lot of stuff going on in this movie - there are a lot of characters and they all seem to carry their own baggage. And even if the cast is excessive, it's such a tightly wound movie that nothing really comes unravelling - the characters are all memorable and they all have their roles to play in the outcome of the ending. If I'm being vague with my description, Moonrise Kingdom is a hard movie to describe without telling the whole story and characters in great detail. You'll just have to trust me that this is a more rapid-fire, faster-paced Wes Anderson film than his previous installments and it's a fun ride the whole way.
The cast is exceptional, of course and I really think the standouts are the two lead kids. They totally sell their romance and I thought their whole relationship was truly romantic, if not a little absurd. They're both a little odd (and slightly mental - which after watching this right after the Sandy Hook shooting, it was interesting to see it from this mental health angle. At one point Suzy goes into a daze and stabs a kid that's attacking them! I really don't know what to read into this other than that it was more funny than serious from the film's perspective).
If you're not a fan of Wes Anderson this movie will not change your mind about him. Otherwise, if you like him or if you're just looking for a fun, quirky movie, Moonrise Kingdom will fill that void. It's an oddly romantic film and somewhat of a dismally cheerful movie (if that's a thing). It's really quite entertaining and I think multiple viewings are in store for this movie from me.
Rating: Own It!