Friday, April 8, 2016

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) review [Revisited]


     Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom is whimsical, awkward, and nostalgic enough to create a warm, childlike love story driven by adolescent fantasy. The many skilled performances and distinct characters suck the audience in and takes them on journey through waves of charming, childlike wonder. Anderson personifies the emotional impact of the nostalgic charm of a young adolescent love story.

PLOT: On a peaceful, suburban island in 1965, two twelve-year-olds fall in love and become pen pals. Eventually, Sam (Jared Gilman), the unpopular, orphan boy scout, and Suzy (Kara Hayward), the neglected child looking for an escape, meet up in the wilderness and run off on an adventure all their own. The two lovebirds travel all over the island, finding out new things about life, the world, and each other, all the while being tracked by several parties. Scoutmaster Ward (Edward Norton) and the rest of his scouts have set out to find Sam and bring him back, while Suzy's father, Walt (Bill Murray) and Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) search for Suzy. The two have the time of their young lives as they flee the island from adulthood and responsibility. The plot is very well thought-out yet basic at the same time. The plot is mainly an awkward, childlike love story, but the several twists and turns as well as the moments of intimacy between the two adolescents make it work. The audience is left intrigued yet surprised and cheerful yet awkward - just as the spirit of this film suggests.

ACTING: One aspect that kept the audience hooked deeply into the story is the expert performances from the all-star cast as well as the young leads. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward did fantastic jobs as the infatuated main characters, Sam and Suzy. I believe no young actors could have portrayed these two adolescents as solidly and fittingly as these two. Aside from the young leads, the all-star cast was pretty fantastic. Bruce Willis did a great job at his calmer role of island cop, Captain Sharp, and Bill Murray played his part excellently as the cranky, disappointed father, Walt Bishop. These two in addition to the quirky Edward Norton as Scoutmaster Ward did fantastic jobs with their unique and more serious and subdued roles. Other shining performances also come from Tilda Swinton as the Social Services worker, Frances McDormand as Mrs. Bishop, Jason Schwartzman as Cousin Ben, Harvey Keitel as Commander Pierce, and Bob Balaban as the Narrator. Every big name actor and actress in this film plays a more obscure and subdued role, almost to ironic conditions for some roles.

SCORE/SOUNDTRACK: The soundtrack and score behind Moonrise Kingdom is just as elegant and flowing as the film presents itself. A collection of classical and quirky compositions make up the majority of the soundtrack, adding a touch of elegance and whimsy throughout the film. The soundtrack also makes the use of some well known artists, like country master, Hank Williams, and elegant composer, Alexandre Desplat.

OTHER CONTENT: The elegance and whimsy through which Wes Anderson crafted this masterpiece is a fleeting emotion not often accurately captured through the movie medium. This film represents the lovesick romances each of us has probably experienced with someone in our childhood. The human race's perception of relationships in an adolescent mind is the subject matter of this film, and Anderson captures that fleeting, nostalgic emotion as tangibly as a butterfly in a net. There's just the right amount of charm, awkwardness, innocence, and nostalgia to bring a wise mind to tears. Anderson captures this accurately from proper casting and script-writing to the elegant score and smooth cinematography. Each shot has a clear, colorful focal point and is smooth and almost Kubrickian in its favor of long, clean shots. Ultimately, Moonrise Kingdom is an anthem for the spirit of adolescent fantasy and relationships, told in an elegant yet basic way.

     Some films attempt to go beyond expectations and catch an entirely abstract emotion on film. Not many filmmakers succeed, and those that do are truly skilled. None other than the quirky Wes Anderson achieve the capture of the fleeting spirit of inexperienced youth, especially in such a smooth and personal manner. An enthralling cast of characters help in capturing the audience's attention and the quirkiness of the junior love story anchor them to the screen, filling them with both joy and awkward intrigue. Moonrise Kingdom is as full of whimsical spirit as light- pleasantly warm but passing much too fast, leaving little trace that it ever existed in the first place.

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