Review: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’


I give Wes Anderson’s new comedy a solid 8 score. 8? On a scale of ten? Not on a scale of 10, it’s on an unlimited scale. Huh? I’ve long thought that the scale for comedy movie reviews should be predicated on the amount of LOLs the reviewer has while enjoying or not enjoying the film. Another example –  Hangover 2 scores a 0, possibly a negative number although I’ve undergone massive amounts of hypno-therapy to erase all memories of that “movie.” Now you can see why theoretically it’s an unlimited scale as to how many LOLs can you really get in a movie. Now theses are genuine LOLs, full-throated, headback laughing. If one wanted to get very specific you could count chuckles, snorts and smiles where you are laughing on the inside just not on the outside. That’s too much to keep track of while trying to enjoy a movie so I just focused on the big ones. For the record – “Moonrise Kingdom”had plenty of chuckles, snorts and quite a few smiles.

I will be the first to admit that “Moonrise Kingdom” had me a little less than enthusiastic to see it due to Trailer Fatigue. What is that? You ask. Trailer Fatigue occurs when one goes to a certain theater or theater chain (For SM our home theater is the majestic Mayan Theater in the Landmark Theatres chain) several times in a few weeks causing said moviegoer to see the same. Trailers. Every. Single. Time. Nothing good can come out of this and usually something bad occurs like a few months ago when being subjected to the Albert Knobshine (the Glenn Close cross-dressing period piece – seriously who market-tested that film?) trailer which had the EXCRUCIATING song from that Bald Lady from Ireland. When you get Trailer Fatigue on a film you get the feeling the trailer is showing all of the best moments which you will already know by heart as you’ve seen the the trailer too much. A great example of this was the unfunny JUNO.  Sadly the trailer for that movie was 10 times better than the LOL-less full-length film.

Now this brings me to “Moonrise”, having attend quite a few movies at the Mayan in the last few weeks I was starting to get Trailer Fatigue and I really wanted to go into this movie as FRESH as possible so needless to say we were nervous that we were gonna get Junoed.

No such thing happened. Wes Anderson and the marketing team for the film managed to create a snappy trailer that left the whole second half of the film out of it. Can you believe it?

The movie was a delightful romp, absolutely perfect for a 95 degree Saturday in Denver. There was some other trepidation as the last few live action Wes Anderson films (“Fantasitc Mr. Fox” was fantastic) seemed to be adhering to the law of diminishing returns. The film is a simple story of young love in the summer of 1965 being thwarted at every step of the way by adults, meddling other kids and weather. Really bad weather. It handles most of the usual Anderson-themes which revolve around people trying to find love and to not be so damn lonely. Really the less you know about the plot, the better. Just know if you see the trailer there’s a lot more. Which is a good thing.

Everyone in “Moonrise” is pretty damn good as they dropped into AndersonLand. The newcomers – all of the young actors, John McLane, Ed Norton and Mrs. Coen and permanent residents Bill Effing Murray and That Guy from Phantom Planet. Only complaint on the case would be the film needed more Tilda. Bob Balaban was an especially inspired choice as the deadpan narrator.

The humor is top-notch too. Most of the comedy manages to come from humorous situations created organically in the film that were NOT at the expense of exploiting heteronormative fears, bodily functions, pointing out weirdo people who don’t seem to be completely average or crass stereotypes. All of the tropes that Hollywood loves to stuff their comedies with these days. Another sign it was a pretty good movie? The desire to want to see it again. Several times. Anderson and his co-wroter Roman Coppola deserve big credit for crafting a fantastic script. Go see it, you will be glad you did.


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