#70 - Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)

Turning Points

Last time I wrote about a Wes Anderson film* I found myself a bit disillusioned with the filmmaker mostly because I realized how all his films are thematically and even visually so very same. I even compared him to Tim Burton as there just doesn’t seem to be any growth within his work. How so? Well simply because with every new film he just pursues the same visual, narrative and thematic line as in the last, and ultimately he never outgrows it by the end of the film. I hoped that “Moonrise Kingdom” would bring that change and be a step towards something truly new, but unfortunately it is not.

However that does not mean that this is a bad film, actually none of his films are bad and I’d even go as far to call a few of them masterful. And “Moonrise Kingdom” also touches upon that greatness and in many ways it struck me as Anderson’s most mature film. Especially in the way it handles sexuality and love, even though it is explored primarily through the experiences of children it is still probably the most heartfelt and truthful stuff on the subject of any of his works so far. It’s very sweet and really calls back to those first feelings in a magnificent way. But the same old Anderson tropes are still very represented in this film as well and for anyone who is very familiar with his work and does not consider himself a die-hard fan all this might seem very predictable and even somewhat tired. Even to the point where it endangers or even breaks the illusion of the film.

But still the execution of all these familiar elements has been polished and perfected to such a degree that it’s hard to argue that they’re anything but enchanting while they’re on the screen. The film is directed and acted and shot impeccably, there is nothing wrong with it on a technical level either. It's a good film by any conceivable measure, and yet when I replay the film in my head I just can’t shake that feeling of overbearing familiarity. It's frustrating. It’s Tim Burton. A great and unique style and tone and atmosphere, good thematic backbone steeped in the adolescent experiences of the author, but done over and over in film after film.

Still, everybody obviously loves it as the film was both a critical and commercial success - some even called it his best work. I however just cannot bear to ride this Wes Anderson bandwagon anymore, and although I still enjoy his films I’m afraid that I’ll just turn more and more sour and cynical with every new film of his as long as he doesn’t change up his act. I don’t want talented people to waste away with making safe and familiar films that play to an already set audience, and that is exactly what I feel that Wes Anderson is doing. So far he’s nothing more but a one-trick pony.

So I guess this is a film for people who don’t want more than they’ve already been getting from Wes Anderson, and I am sure that people like that will be absolutely delighted with this film. But I am not one of those people, not anymore. “Moonrise Kingdom” is safe and predictable in every way that a Wes Anderson film can be safe and predictable, and all I want from him now is to show me something new.



Jared Gilman - Sam
Kara Hayward - Suzy
Edward Norton - Scout Master Ward
Bruce Willis - Captain Sharp
Bill Murray - Walt Bishop
Frances McDormand - Laura Bishop
Tilda Swinton - Social Services

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