Wes Anderson films are kind of hit or miss with people I know. Some people are crazy about films like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Royal Tenenbaums. I didn’t really get the craze until I saw one of Anderson’s earliest films, Rushmore. I loved it. And then I went back and watched the others again. At that time, The Darjeeling Limited came out and I absolutely loved it. Well, it’s been a few years and a few films later and Anderson’s latest Moonrise Kingdom has hit theaters. It’s only in select theaters so I struggled to find a nearby location but I eventually found one.
There’s a small island, home to a few families and a regional boy scout retreat. The daughter of a local family has fallen for an odd boy from the boy scouts and they decide to run off together. Her father (Bill Murray) teams up with local police (Bruce Willis) and the scoutmaster (Edward Norton) to find them. The two kids are both somewhat emotionally disturbed but their love story is sweet to watch.
The two lead children did a great job, though they both have that quirky Wes Anderson-y way about them. The boy kind of reminded me of a younger Napoleon Dynamite, if he were to be a boy scout. But both of them, who are unknowns in Hollywood, show some serious promise.
Also, the all-star supporting cast is tremendous. Willis, Murray, and Norton all have moments where you see past the real situation and they can convey a whole history without needing exposition. Willis especially shares some cool moments with the young boy scout.
And as always, the movie is shot in a way that is trademark Wes Anderson. There are sets that are built to look like miniatures and buildings that are built with an open plane so that we can look inside them, it’s incredibly cool to watch it all unfold. Add in the quirky humor and sweet adolescent love story and most people should enjoy this story.
What doesn’t work?
Some people just don’t like Wes Anderson’s style. And then this movie adds in another layer as these two 12-year-olds fall in “love” and some people might find this kind of creepy, as they act much more adult than we’d like to believe how 12-year-olds act. I thought it was cute but it’s a fine line.
If you’ve seen a Wes Anderson film and liked it, you’ll likely enjoy Moonrise Kingdom. If you haven’t, but you usually like movies with Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, or even Bill Murray, you might find that you’ll enjoy this movie as well. It’s quirky and witty but also addresses love as viewed through the eyes of a 12-year-old. There’s no reason to see this movie in theaters, however, so maybe wait to rent it and you won’t feel as guilty if you don’t enjoy it.