And it's as charming, whimsical, nostalgic, eccentric, and poignant as all the commercials suggest. Young love and Boy Scouts (excuse me, Khaki Scouts) in the 60's, where it was okay for a kid to smoke a pipe or a policeman to offer that same kid a taste of beer. A young, awkward, unpopular boy runs off with a girl he met once and corresponded with and they set out on an adventure and to start their life together, over the objections of everyone. Of course, there's a great supporting cast with Wes Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzmann along with Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Harvey Keitel.
But this isn't just typical Wes Anderson, it's good Wes Anderson. By all rights his shtick of eccentric dead-pan characters with delusions of grandeur should have worn thin by now. And in fairness, it sometimes has (THE LIFE AQUATIC.) He took a well-needed departure into stop-motion animation with THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX, and at first blush it would seem MOONRISE KINGDOM is a return to the typical Wes Anderson style. And in many ways it is, but on a more important level it's a departure from his usual M.O. In his earlier movies, Anderson's moral was typically one of giving up or at least scaling back on your biggest dreams and enjoying the simpler things in life--family, friends, modest accomplishments. In the climax of his DARJEELING LIMITED his characters literally had to drop their baggage to get on with their life. But in MOONRISE KINGDOM his heroic couple holds on to their goal through the objections of everyone (including a huge storm that could be interpreted as God himself objecting) but they still win in the end (oh, yeah....Spoiler Alert!) This "hold on to your dreams" message stands in stark contrast to his earlier "find happiness with what you can get" movies, and makes MOONRISE KINGDOM in its own way just as big of a departure as THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX. Wes Anderson has always had a bit of a hopeless/hapless romantic streak in his movies, but has he actually become more idealistic with age?
Running Time: 94 minutes
My Total Minutes: 289,346