Moonrise Kingdom [Blu-Ray]
Published Nov 06, 2012
In an effort to articulate my extreme ambivalence towards Wes Anderson, I should point out that The Fantastic Mr. Fox
is one of my favourite children's films of all time. Anderson's attention to detail and exquisite composition are second to none, save for the depth of vision and moody lighting of Peter Greenaway. His use of colour palettes, props and intimately rendered, character specific sets and costumes create a world unto itself, which, in addition to unwavering, deliberate aesthetics and a wonderfully juxtaposed shot structure, are the greatest things about Moonrise Kingdom
. But beyond this artifice, which we've grown to expect from Anderson, what is there specifically about this nostalgic pre-teen love story that makes it special? Arguably, not much at all. The story is standard, maudlin, even twee, following an orphaned boy (Jared Gilman) that flees scout camp to be with a depressive local girl (Kara Hayward), using his wilderness skills to guide them through the limited geography of New Penzance Island. But their romantic dalliance and the eventual chaos it brings to the scouts (Edward Norton) and her family (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand) is secondary and almost incidental to the many close-ups of tchotchkes from the '60s and excessively detailed sets. It's as though the flimsy, overly cutesy story exists only to support Anderson's self-indulgent obsession with nostalgia and contextually irrelevant idiosyncrasy. Sure, some of the goofiness on display proves mildly amusing, such as the decision to suck on pebbles to quench thirst when water is readily available, or our orphan protagonist's method of escape from camp, but they aid only in maintaining tone for the duration of the runtime. In fact, most of what happens in Moonrise Kingdom
doesn't help propel the characters or the story in any way, leaving those not floored by superficial set design bored and annoyed. If anything, this frustrating, bland and astoundingly shallow piece of banality proves only that Wes Anderson should only adapt existing texts, like The Fantastic Mr. Fox
. Included with the Blu-Ray is a handful of supplemental materials, such as a guide to the island and some behind the scenes footage, as narrated by the dry-humoured Bob Balaban. They add nothing to the viewing experience.