I’ve been mulling around about how I was going to do this review. In the end, I decided to just go for it because, well, you’ll see…
Moonrise Kingdom is a Wes Anderson film.
For most people coming to this movie, that is what they’re coming for. For others who have heard about it from someone, they may think that this film is quirky and cute and fun.
But that’s what every Wes Anderson film is.
His voice is unique and he presents quality films relentlessly. In a film industry that rehashes the same sequels, prequels, reboots, and jacking of other literary endeavors, Wes Anderson is needed in this industry. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that his voice is amazing. It’s just a unique freshness that is necessary. He provides hope for the industry without actually delivering the how. Indeed, he has basically crafted for himself the “Wes Anderson” genre of film where occasional filmmakers do poor (and, rarely, even better) interpretations of the genre.
What makes the Wes Anderson genre different? Well, Anderson starts it off with having really inventive dialogue, inventive shots, inventive ideas, but all of those things come off as almost too perfect.
His dialogue never hesitates with certainty, there are no moments that seem to be unscripted rather than what I presume says “dancing” within the script. He centers his shots, and, when he doesn’t, he finds the perfect, photographic shot with just enough balance shifted to a different side of the frame. He comes up with a grand story of love between young kids discovering their feelings and bodies, but they meet through nearly impossible means (Cub Scout-esque Khaki meeting the sad but sweet mod girl) explained by the story set on an island (in the 60s which basically looks some other Wes Anderson films with just “the 60s” tag added at the end). His pacing starts slow and quickens exploding into complete chaos where everyone has complete composure during impossible moments.
This film basically feels like Wes Anderson doing a Wes Anderson interpretation of the “Wes Anderson” genre. He repeats the same style and perfection (and characters) as he has with every film which is unfortunate because this could have been an amazing film. Instead, after watching his other films, most of what is within this film is predictable.
It’s all there: A-List actors, fantastic finds with young, burgeoning actors, great scenery, and heartwarming young love.
Every actor gives a great performance with what they’re given, and the leads Jared Gilman (Sam) and Kara Hayward (Suzy) capture you’re heart quick.
By all rights, this is a great movie. But then, you get that whole Wes Anderson thing going. His style overwhelms the story and overpowers all of those performances and ideas by making this movie more about art than story. If he was able to find a balance for this conundrum, then this film would have excelled way past all of his previous films and the “Wes Anderson” genre.
But he doesn’t. That’s what hurts this film.
If you do not know much about Wes Anderson, check it out and you’ll probably like it. If you love Wes Anderson (like I used to) you’ll probably love it. But, I’m world weary about this film, and it just doesn’t do anything for me.