Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, Francis McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban, and more.
Directed by: Wes Anderson Written by: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola Cinematography by: Robert D Yeoman Original Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Premise: In 1965, on an island off the coast of New England, two 12 year olds run away together to follow the migrations of the original Indian inhabitants. Their disappearance and the subsequent search stir up hidden, unspoken issues with the adults. Unbeknownst to all, a huge, deadly storm is brewing and coming their way. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: The kids in this film steal the show. Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman delivered their lines with total deadpan accuracy. It was very clear that Sam and Suzy weren’t your typical children – they were more responsible and grown up than most of the adults in the film! With the added fun performances from Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Francis McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and others, it made the film that much more fun.
2) Special Effects – Thumbs Up: My impression was that they wanted the film to have a feel and nostalgia for times past. A lot of the more flashy moments were very reminiscent of old style, low budget special effects. Yet those effects used in the background and not as easily noticeable were produced with all the tools and finesse available in modern times.
3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: It’s a simple tale with unexpected depth. What made it even more interesting was the fact the kids get found and brought back, only to then gain unexpected allies and escape again, causing even more chaos.
It had the feel of a domino effect – one action, causing another, which caused another and so on. It was also a lesson on matters taken for granted and the pitfalls of not communicating even when there’s someone right next to you. Deeper still, it showed that those we choose to lead us aren’t always the ones we should be listening to.
The use of maps on screen, the narrator, and the old fashioned telephone calls with split screen to show all parties even as they bumbled to connect with one another were used to great effect. For older audiences this movie will resonate and bring boughts of nostalgia.
4) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The locations were great and very reminiscent of the period. There were lovely vistas of the ocean, the woods, the fields, and the building storm.
The introductory footage when the film begins was innovative and gripping in its oddness. Also spoke well of the vast distances between the children and the parents. You knew right away “Moonrise Kingdom” would be a different experience from other films.
Conclusion: A quirky, quietly funny, yet deep film. Enough odd ball goings on that even kids would enjoy it. It was also really amusing that all of Suzy’s fantasy ya book covers were done by people in the production.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)