quick thoughts on Moonrise Kingdom.

After waiting a few long weeks, and prohibiting friends from revealing details, I finally saw Moonrise Kingdom. And I loved it. Here are some quick thoughts on why I loved it:

  • Childhood innocence: Who doesn’t love that? In the midst of the Freeh report, it’s good to see kids be kids, even if it’s in a movie.
  • It’s nice to watch a movie that doesn’t make you scrunch up your face and think, “Oh, that was the point where I was supposed to be shocked/surprised/disgusted by brief, cheap vulgarity/sexuality/crudeness.” And is also not animated.
  • Sense of adventure: Again, who doesn’t love that? Moonrise Kingdom is littered with mini adventures, wrapped up in the big adventure of a coming-of-age story. Suzy runs away from home, Sam goes AWOL from the Khaki Scouts, and together they backpack across the island. The Khaki Scouts launch a recon mission for Sam, then assist Sam and Suzy in a mini-canoe escape between islands. Scout Master Ward leads all the scouts out when the dam breaks. And on, and on, and on. Oops, I forgot young love.
  • Frances McDormand
  • New England living (Maine posts coming soon)
  • These two scenes:
    • The back-and-forth cut revealing Sam and Suzy’s letter correspondence. It was clever, cute, and who doesn’t get excited to receive a handwritten letter?
    • Sam and Suzy dancing on the beach. I shouldn’t have to explain that one.

My main critique/problem is that it was too…Wes Anderson-y. I fear he may become a caricature of himself, and his films will suffer for it. If you’re at all familiar with his other work, you can spot his repetitive motifs instantly. And while I like his trademark long camera shot, I worry he may overdo it. If this was your first experience with Wes Anderson, I do wonder what you thought.

One small critique: I wanted more out of Tilda Swinton. Or for Social Services to have not been played by Tilda Swinton. It felt almost as if she was just vacationing nearby, and Wes Anderson ran into her at the grocery and asked if she’d play this bit part in his new film.

After the credits rolled, we wondered which lines would be most quoted. Obviously, I expect “What kind of bird are you?” to be used in many a flirt-text or flirt-Facebook post. I’ll have to watch it again before declaring any more highly repeatable lines.

Back to loving it. I think I enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom so much (pretty sure I had a dopey smile the whole time) because that’s the kind of movie-watching season I’m in. Er, let me explain. I finally watched Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, a movie I anticipated enjoying a great deal, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t. Typically, I’m a lover of the highly engaging, thought-provoking, you-better-pay-attention-or-you’ll-miss-it kind of movie. But right now, I just want to watch a movie and enjoy it. I don’t want to feel Jedi mind-tricked for two days post viewing, trying to work out all the nuances. So, a lighthearted story of two kids who fall in love and try to run away, set with muted fall colors, a New England backdrop, and a kitten in a basket, I’ll take it.

Moonrise Kingdom print from thefilmexperience.net. Check out the other prints!