Review: Moonrise Kingdom


From the master of delightful deadpan you can pretty much telegraph what you are going to get, a much loved melancholy mix that audiences ponder and critics love, all while still not being everyone’s cup of Darjeeling.

Ever since my first unexpected Anderson encounter (on an in-flight movie) in The Royal Tenenbaums I have come to find there’s nothing quite as whimsical as a Wes Anderson movie; they’re an experience for sure, and in Moonrise Kingdom the niche director has returned to trusted ways that once again focus on staple themes of domestic dysfunction and youthful revolt.

What Anderson does is no longer that radical, his direction remains brilliantly stylistic but stoic. His last feature Fantastic Mr Fox (which I adore) was unique, but his indomitable style works in that it’s still visceral and captivating, even if now perhaps regimented in its own panache.

His direction and vision evoke hilarity in the most subtle of ways, and here returning to live action it delights more so in its familiarity rather than stepping out of Anderson’s self-created niche.

Here again, the primary coloured vivid surrealism creates an almost dreamlike world on the island of New Penzance, were a brilliant tracking introduction of Bill Murray’s rabbit warren  home ushers in more of the same, but it is still very welcome.

Mentally disturbed kid Sam (Jared Gilman) exits from Scout camp Ivanhoe to meet up with pen pal and fellow runaway Suzy (Kara Hayward). Edward Norton’s bands of Khaki scouts give wilderness chase. Bruce Willis’ short trouser wearing Island cop gives assistance and a search gets underway in sight of a coming storm.

Telling  a coming of age tale and the naivety of youth, were much story is told within the adventurous backwoods escapade  makes for a far more relatable tale of heart than what Anderson has given us before, more so than the distant peculiarity of Tennebaum’s upper class kinsfolk when placing the precocious pair of youthful fugitives in front .  Such clever and cordial delivery from newcomers is admirable.

As ever, whether knowing more about the capability of actors or just supreme direction, Anderson gets brilliant po-faced delivery from his charges. Anderson veterans Murray and Schwartzman could do it in their sleep now but Willis, Norton and McDormand are welcome additions to the Anderson Stable.

Dialogue remains amusingly deadpan, but delivery of such imperceptible hilarity relies on pivotal comic timing and with the ensemble clearly having a good time of it, gags are pin sharp.

Charming, whimsical and unique in his and its own style, Moonrise Kingdom follows the formula to still remain as fascinating and hilarious as ever, without stating anything overly revelatory than what has come before.

But when you buy an Anderson ticket you get and know what you pay for and that still amounts to high quality, enchanting filmmaking.

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19 responses to “Review: Moonrise Kingdom

  1. Brilliant review man. I really enjoyed this little delight from Anderson. It’s not favourite as it is for many but still a damn good addition to his quirk. Loved this line “… all while still not being everyone’s cup of Darjeeling.” Nicely done. 🙂

    • Hey thanks Mark glad you liked the line, didn’t even think of that one it literally stuck to the page as wrote it, glad you spotted the reference. Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr.Fox are the one I like the most. This was still excellent, but really his standard is beyond most.

    • certainly does hipster and that is exactly why we love Anderson’s movies. I touched on in my review of how niche it is but while it is still hilarious, bring it on!

  2. Such a lovely little film that Anderson works so perfectly with it’s quirky happenings and quirky characters. Finally, Anderson has hit the notes that he always should hit with these types of movies. Good review.

    • you know exactly what you get from him and while it is still charming and hilarious, keep it coming I say. I do think he perhaps needs to do something a little different, maybe another animated film or a different theme he hasn’t visited yet. still loved it immensely though.

    • By Anderson standards I believe it isn’t quite his best but many critics believe it is his best. I still thought it was excellent because Anderson movies are never less than excellent are they!? Would love to know what you think of it when you have watched it.

    • Dunno, not my best TBH but I really liked it. When compared with other nominations, if it’s all relative than worthy of a nom itself.

  3. I fell in love with the trailer and the movie lived up to it. Strangely enough I’ve had different experiences with Anderson’s movies. While I really loved The Darjeeling Limited, I didn’t care for Rushmore. This one however was way up on my top-of-the-year list of 2012.

    • Darjeeling and tenenbaums are my best and Mr Fox which was amazing. I too liked this not sure what my best of 2012 was gotta give it some thought. Rushmore was not quite as refined as he was really only just honing his skills. Thanks for your visit today.

  4. Anything with Bruce Willis and Bill Murray has got to be worth a look. Great review and I’ve bestowed thee with an award. Just follow the bouncing link -

  5. How awesome would that be to have The Royal Tenennbaums as an inflight movie? I never get films like that it’s always something terrible like One for the Money or some such garbage.

    I had this in my number one spot for my top ten this year. As you would imagine I loved it.

    • probably one of the few, did have 500 days of summer once too which wasn’t bad. I normally take my own in flight movie entertainment to negate the possibility of getting something crap. number one of the year is high praise indeed, you really liked it then. I loved this and I love Anderson I am just curious to see what he might offer if he stepped from his niche a little, just curious to what a new project for him might be

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