Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson's best: Moonrise Kingdom
**** out of ****

Moonrise Kingdom is a solid piece of work from Wes Anderson. It's story of two young naive runaways and the unhappy adults who must retrieve them is a funny imaginative adventure.

I've always wanted to love a Wes Anderson film. Now I can. His beautiful aesthetics are in no way tainted by childish adults he usually chooses to focus on. Ever since I saw Rushmore and the opening sequence from The Royal Tenenbaums, I've loved his portrayal of children and their ambition to take on the world or defy everything. This is also a musical deviation for him. The use of classical music (mostly Benjamin Britten) was much more enchanting to me than his normal eccentric classic-rock selections. There's also some Hank Williams. For the second time he works with Alexandre Desplat to compose a unique film-score. Anderson regular, Mark Mothersbaugh contributes music too.

Listen to the Terry Gross interview with music supervisor Randal Poster.

His work is usually style-over-substance, though I don't think that's as terrible a thing as some people say. I have never seen his style more beautifully executed than in this film. He has gone as far as he can in achieving a storybook environment (in live-action) and that is one of many factors that I think makes this his crowning achievement. I guess I like what his style accomplishes here. It's set in the nineteen-sixties which justifies his selective wardrobe, location, prop, and set design that always puts his other movies in a confused time period. The nostalgia for childhood hobbies and activities of another era is very obvious and strong.

There is also a well-used adult cast. Bruce Willis is the best, Bill Murray (Duh), Frances McDormant, Jason Schwartzman, and Edward Norton are all great. Even Hollywood heartthrob Bob Balaban appears as a bearded narrator and cartographer. Was I supposed to think of Close Encounters? There's even Tilda Swinton which is a little weird.
Did Wes Anderson consider the confusion he could create on the set by casting Tilda Swinton?

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