Movie #337 2020: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Breathe a sigh of relief. We’re stepping away from Christmas for a hot second to look at something else. Just breathe. And enjoy.

Coming from the mind of the ever-quirky Wes Anderson comes Moonrise Kingdom, which comes after The Royal Tenenbaums but before The Grand Budapest Hotel in his timeline. A sweet, funny tale, Moonrise is the story of a group of boy scouts on the coast of New England. When one of the boy scouts falls in love with a local girl, the two twelve year olds run away together into the wilderness. Being only twelve, of course this sparks a huge manhunt and descends into chaos when everyone’s secrets are exposed.

Moonrise Kingdom fits snugly in that classic aesthetic we’ve all come to know and love. Art Deco, angular, stylised shots, breaking the fourth wall, ridiculously great ensemble cast, perfectly placed split screens… yep, that’s Wes Anderson. And all of those things are visible here.

Rich, autumnal colour palettes saturate this movie, which is such a fitting and excellent choice. There’s no wonder that Anderson often has Robert Yeoman as his DP; every single shot is so meticulous that every frame would make a gorgeous photograph. In fact, I found it difficult to choose a photo still for this post, because there are so many beautiful pictures that capture the essence of this movie. Two great minds pair together with precision here. Excellent stuff. 

Alexandre Desplat is quickly becoming one of my favourite film composers, and you should really look up his filmography if you’re not sure who he is. (Hint: he was behind so many great movies including The King’s Speech, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Shape of Water, to name but a few). Every single note of this score is exactly where it’s supposed to be, making the soundtrack as close to perfection as humanly possible.

It’s a simple story, but it’s so well put together that it’s damn entertaining. There’s a lot of love for Budapest Hotel, but that movie just didn’t fill me with joy or grip me as much as Moonrise for some reason. Though I can’t say my attention didn’t stray once or twice, this is the superior movie to me both technically and in terms of enjoyability.

Many hail Wes Anderson as their favourite director, and I can appreciate that opinion – he’s truly brilliant. Though he’s not my favourite personally (I feel as though sometimes the quirkiness takes over too much for me to really invest in the characters), this movie made me warm to him that little bit more. 

Before we round this up, here’s a plea to Hollywood: More movies with a Bill MurrayFrances McDormandBruce Willis love triangle please! 🙋🏼‍♀️

Moonrise Kingdom is available to rent on Amazon and the Google Play Store for £2.49.

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