Wes Anderson has made some of my favorite movies of all time, and because of my profound love for them, he can do no wrong. He is the equivalent to a tenured professor in my directorial lineup, and his movies will always hold a special place in my heart. It is perhaps because of this attitude that I happily came out of the theater after seeing Moonrise Kingdom today, satisfied with my viewing experience. It may have also helped that Asheville Fine Arts Theater serves beer, which is always a welcome movie companion, but also far too rare at movie theaters showing new films.
You cannot discuss Wes Anderson without mentioning his eye-catching way of presenting setting, costume and props. Every scene is a beautiful stage front, set up so meticulously that your eyes drink up every square centimeter of the screen. I tumble into the world of the film when the long, slow, panning shots take you through a detailed and complex tour of the setting. When I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums, I was enamored with scenes like this one, where Margot Tenenbaum meets her brother at the bus station for the first time in years.
In The Life Aquatic, it was the beautiful way they presented the Belafonte, Steve Zissou’s boat. In Fantastic Mr. Fox, it was the intricate and adorable little props and costumes he used.
Moonrise Kingdom, unsurprisingly, carried on Wes Anderson’s attention to beautiful cinematography and a feel for a vintage-inspired detail. This made it so that even if the plot wasn’t capturing my full attention or making me fall in love with the characters, I was still wrapped up in Anderson’s world. All it takes is a little bit of nerdy Edward Norton and unexpected appearances from Jason Schwartzman and Harvey Keitel to keep my attention and adoration for Mr. Anderson alive. (Although I think I speak for anyone and everyone when I say we all could have used some more Bill Murray in our lives throughout this movie).
I think that some may take issue to the movie for being a little “too cute,” which is undoubtedly why movies intended for an adult audience don’t often feature young children as main characters. Anderson could have spent more time spent getting us connected with Suzy and Sam, our young love birds and the protagonists of the film. However, the flashbacks that did focus on a whirlwind tour of their separate pasts and what drew these two misunderstood and somewhat neglected misfits together to plan to run away were some of my favorite parts of the whole movie. For me, a fanciful account of two tweens in love is still a little far from the world I know and relate to right now, even though I should probably just be drawing parallels between my world and theirs and leave well enough alone the literal story.
As I said, I still came out happy. I doubt I could ever come out of one of the worlds Wed Anderson has painted and not feel a little bit sunnier. From the awkward still shots of a character’s deadpan expression to the maps and charts and detailed accouterments that Anderson
I recommend that you see this movie. I would give it an A, I will buy it when it comes out, perhaps in a Criterion Collection format. Yeah, I said it… I think you will enjoy it, and it is definitely better than what else is going on out there at the theaters right now. Plus, I want Wes Anderson to make as many movies as possible so that he can continue to delight me with his whimsical filmmaking. So please give him more money so he can continue to pour it into meticulous set design and the like!