Moonrise Kingdom

July 5, 2012
By Isha Chavva BRONZE, North Brunswick, New Jersey
Isha Chavva BRONZE, North Brunswick, New Jersey
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Wes Anderson’s is about the kingdom itself, not the inhabitants. It takes place on an island that is an entire world neatly contained within its own borders. The camera leaves the people to linger about in the land of trees sprouting through carpets of orange leaves, fields sprinkled green and yellow, bays carved into cliffs with bright blue water and jagged rocks. The pace is kept not by the characters’ struggles but by the advent of the upcoming storm, an annual torrent that will flood the island.

The characters are the background here. Sam is a member of the Boy Scout-esque Khaki Scouts; he is an orphan, and is rejected both from his family and his troop. Suzy, on the other hand, comes from a large and accepting family; she, unfortunately, is deemed disturbed, mainly because of her eccentric behavior and violent tendencies. They fall in love—or, at least they think they do—and elope along an ancient Native American trail.

There are characters even further in the distance. A police officer—Captain Sharp—in love with Laura Bishop, the mother of Suzy and wife of Walt Bishop, who suspects but does not admit anything outright. A Social Services worker. A short, red-jacketed man who spends his time videotaping natural occurrences around the island. And, of course, Sam’s troop leader, Scoutmaster Ward. The performances, which include legendaries such as Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman, are surprisingly understated and still somehow touching.

Moonrise Kingdom, in the hands of its gifted director, has every right to take this mismatched set of potluck characters and build them into something honest and amazing. Unfortunately, this is where Anderson fails us. They don’t form a series of dysfunctional yet connected parts, as they did in his past films. Moonrise Kingdom confirms our greatest doubt about the seeming magic of Wes Anderson: unwrap the movie—peel away all the decoration, all of the psychedelic animations and the sixties music, every drop of aesthetic appeal, every bleached hue and saturated primary—and what you find is nothing groundbreaking.

However, Moonrise Kingdom will entertain. It’s the kind of movie that spans all ages, and isn’t a bore; even if it won't change lives, it will captivate the viewer while it’s on the screen. Fortunately for all of us, who live in worlds of taxes and mortgages and grief not punctuated by owls and Latin clubs, the leftover quaintness is enough to entertain us. There’s still a story—something to cling to and watch unravel. It is memorable, but not for the same reasons Anderson’s past films were.

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