Deemed as either a talented film scribe or a pompous, hipster auteur, Wes Anderson has always been able to pen a unique signature to each and every film he gets his handle on. Like Rushmore and the Royal Tenenbaums before it, Moonrise Kingdom is a film that is colored with such deliberate style and design that few should find little fault with its appearance. From the moment the film starts, we are whisked away to the small New England island of New Penzance in 1965, where our main characters are planning to embark on a journey that will unfold into a tale filled with humor, warmth, and an eccentric array of characters that have the birthmark of “Wes” slapped squarely on their foreheads. Welcome then, to Moonrise Kingdom.
While viewing this with “said girl” (now “girlfriend”) in the lusciously iconic Tampa Theater, the first thing that will be realized is how well the film draws you into the world in which Wes and Roman Coppola illustrate for us. From the ever-so common lighthouses in red and white to the rocky coasts of any and everything that is remotely New England-ish, you’d wonder why there wasn’t a steaming plate of crab cakes in front of you as the movie progressed. From there you’ll find our young hero Sam, a khaki scout who’s left the confines of Camp Ivanhoe to be with Suzy, our troubled pre-teen heroine whose parents, played by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, are lawyers that are more willing to argue over semantics than confront the troubles plaguing their marriage.
Things begin to get crazy once scout master Randy Ward, played to perfection by Edward Norton, gets a whiff of the news, where he’s joined by Police Commander Sharp (brought to you by Bruce Willis) and the rest of the scout troop, who just happen to be armed to the teeth. Add some awesome cameos, catchy music, a play about Noah’s Ark, wonderfully quirky cinematography and Tilda Swinton in the most “evil” of costumes imaginable and what follows is a fun and exciting romp through New England to find our would be lovers as they seek some solitude for themselves. Oh, and that imminent flood that you see in the trailers? It’ll make a big hello in the film as well.
Colorful, eccentric and in many ways, epic, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is a welcome entry to this summer’s fanfare of films, showcasing the notion that, in some cases, youth may have more things to teach the experienced than one would expect, especially in the realms of love and understanding. With so much to offer in such simple yet satisfying terms, it’s no wonder that as the rest of New Penzance is flooded throughout the last third of the film, Moonrise Kingdom rises high as a dazzling kaleidoscope, awash with magnificence.