The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Spellbound by Moonrise Kingdom

with 31 comments

“This must be the weirdest movie I’ve ever seen!”

We had just left the prescreening of Moonrise Kingdom when I heard the exclamation from a girl in the audience.

I frowned. Weird? This? Hardly.

If this was the weirdest movie she’d seen, her ordinary selection of films must be very limited.

I thought back to when I watched Fassbinder’s Querelle in the early 80s. Good grief! I was 16 years old and had a self image that required me to fearlessly dive into what I thought was “deep” and “insightful” books and movies. I had absolutely no idea of what the movie by Fassbinder wanted to convey. But of course I pretended I had. It was a weird, weird movie.

I don’t need to go that far back in time though. As recent as in the beginning of this year I saw a film that I didn’t have a clue of what it was about: Alps, which was made by the same director as did Dogtooth the other year. Utterly incomprehensible. They had the good taste to play the Popcorn in the end, which left me in an upbeat mode, but you don’t need to go to the movies to hear that song. It’s on YouTube in a gazillion versions.

There have been so many movies over the years which have been way stranger than Moonrise Kingdom, movies such as Delicatessen, La grande bouffe, The Cars that ate Paris. Or basically anything by Lars von Trier. They’re all great, but absolutely weird.

Straight forward
Wes Anderson’s latest movie doesn’t belong to this category at all.

Actually I’d say Moonrise Kingdom is a pretty simple, straight forward story. Here’s this boy and girl who live in US in the 60s. They’re about 12-13 years old, come from so-and-so home conditions. They meet, fall in love and run away together.  People go searching for them and there’s rain and thunder and scouts and worried parents, but nothing of this is really weird.

It’s quirky though, definitely. But isn’t that to be expected from this director? And quirky is not the same as weird. Everything seems to be quirky these days. It’s the new black.

I frowned at the suggestion that the film was weird and I wondered if she was one of those people who seem to hate Wes Anderson, regardless of what he does. It seems as if most people are either with him or against him and nothing in between. (I’m an exception, since I loved Darjeeling Limited but didn’t care for Rushmore. So far I’ve met no one who thinks the same. )

But then I turned around to look in her direction and then I saw the look in her face. She was smiling. As a matter of fact she was absolutely radiant with pleasure of what she just had seen. I swear, if she had walked into an ongoing screening, people would have complained about the lights being turned on.

Pretty, funny, melancholic
I saw where she was coming from. I too felt as if I’d just received a gentle hug, which was exactly what I needed after the rough treatment I got watching Bullhead the other night.

The first word that comes into my mind describing Moonrise Kingdom is “pretty”. A lot of care has been put into the color palette, which reminds me of slides and super 8 movies from the 60s. It’s a world that mostly goes in yellow, but occasionally in red, green or blue, depending on the mood. And needless to say the costume design and the entire art direction is perfect. This is stylish and care has been taken to the smallest detail.

The second word I think of is “funny”. It’s not laughing-out-loud funny, but there are quite a few moments that made me smile a bit.

The third word that comes up is “melancholic”. There’s something about it that makes me think of sunsets or the last week of a vacation or Sunday nights. The kids in the film are just about to cross the border to adulthood, enjoying their last precious days of innocence and freedom. Think Submarine. Think Stand by Me. Think the first half of Super 8, before the monster turned up.

If you love to see children having adventures on their own with a bit of “this is going to end soon” feeling looming in the backhead, I think you’re going to like this.

Remain seated
One more word before I finish: I just want to give you a heads-up, referring to the post I wrote about extra scenes recently.

Whatever you do, if you plan to see this: don’t do like 90 percent of the audience did when I watched it! Don’t run out of the theatre as soon as the texts start running!

Stay calm. Relax. Remain seated. There isn’t any extra scene, but you could say that there’s a bit of extra content in the audio that you might want to hear since it sort of knits the beginning in the end together elegantly.

And here comes finally the TLDR version:
I was quite enchanted by Moonrise Kingdom. Go and see it if you’re into Wes Anderson’s world and style. Otherwise: don’t.

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, US, 2012) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

June 1, 2012 at 1:11 am

Posted in Moonrise Kingdom

31 Responses

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  1. Not that I needed to be sold Jessica, (I love Wes Anderson) but this is one of my most anicipated of the year. I look forward to an Anderson picture like I do the Coens. Idiosyncrasy! I can only be disappointed but with Anderson, I rarely am.

    Mark Walker

    June 1, 2012 at 3:01 am

    • I don’t think it will disappoint you! I look forward to see your take on it.

      I need to see more Wes Anderson. I haven’t seen enough to call myself a fan. But this one I liked.

      Jessica

      June 1, 2012 at 7:25 am

      • You should definitely check out more of his stuff. He’s a real treat. Not to everyone’s taste but I find him a refreshing voice. If you’ve not seen it, look out for The Darjeeling Limited. I absolutely love that film.

        Mark Walker

        June 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

        • I think I mentioned it in the review. :) I loved that film. I didn’t love Rushmore though. I might have been in a bad mood for seeing it, I don’t know. I was just bored with it. But Darjeeling in combination with this one makes me want to see more.

          Jessica

          June 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

  2. I have tried very hard to like Anderson, but unfortunately to no avail. His quirkyness is defintitely not mine but then again, you can’t win them all.

    Sofia

    June 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    • Fair enough. At least I think I’ll have Henke at Fripps with me next time we’re debating this at Filmspanarna!

      Jessica

      June 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm

  3. Can’t wait to get a chance to see this.

    impsndcnma

    June 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    • So strange that it gets a big release here before in US… Maybe Swedes are more prone to like Wes Anderson?

      Jessica

      June 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      • I’m noticing this more often these days. It seems that Prometheus was released in Europe before the U.S. also. What’s going on? We’re normally well behind.

        Mark Walker

        June 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

        • I actually start to hope a little here for a trend. The launch of Avengers in Europe before US turned out to be very good, getting out some buzz before the release on the main market. Perhaps more films want to try that strategy?

          Jessica

          June 3, 2012 at 7:52 pm

          • I hope they stick with that strategy for our sake. I’m liking it a lot. It’s not so good for our friends across the pond but surely we deserve a wee shot, for a while at least. :-)

            Mark Walker

            June 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm

            • It’s wonderful! I’m running around like a maniac, talking enthusiastically about Prometheus and it feels like when you’re the first one in the slope in the morning when you’re doing downhill skiing, the snow absolutely smooth and unbroken. Wohoo!

              Jessica

              June 4, 2012 at 8:02 am

      • I’m not sure. Whenever I think of Wes Anderson now though I think of this comedy book “Stuff White People Like’. It seems White People are programmed to enjoy Wes Anderson although I’m not a fan of everyone of his films.

        impsndcnma

        June 3, 2012 at 7:52 pm

        • Are you sure that it really IS so or that it’s just not another case of stereotyping? Is there really a connection between what kind of films you like and your skin color? I know how much I hate when people assume that women don’t like sci-fi for instance. Perhaps it’s the same thing here.

          Jessica

          June 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm

  4. Great post. I’m dying to see this movie, looks so fun and beautiful. I agree that “everything seems to be quirky these days. It’s the new black” but Anderson walks away unscathed beacuse he was one of the first directors to be “quirky”. I, too, loved Darjeeling but didn’t care for Rushmore!

    fernandorafael

    June 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    • I’m really surprised that Rushmore isn’t finding much love here. I thought it was superb. I was in stitches with the Scottish pupil that bullies him. Then again, that might be just bias on my part.

      Mark Walker

      June 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      • Most people seem to love Rushmore so thought I’m the odd one and perhaps I’m just wrong. It could be the case of just bad timing. Watching a movie in the wrong time, under the wrong circumstances, in the wrong mood. I found it very unengaging and could barely stay awake at all.

        Maybe I’ll get back to it but I have some other Anderson homework to do first, such as Fox and Tenenbaums.

        Jessica

        June 3, 2012 at 11:12 pm

        • I completely get what you mean. Maybe that’s what happened to me too. You should definitely see Fox, it’s my favorite from him.

          fernandorafael

          June 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm

        • Have you done a post on watching a movie at the wrong time or wrong mood before Jessica? That’s ideal material for your engaging and informative blog. If you have, I’d love to read it. If not, I await it with anticipation. Your blog is the perfect room for discussion on this. I’ve been subject to watching many film’s in the wrong frame of mind before. Sometimes it just comes down to taste after all. I’ve recommended Rushmore to a few people and they felt the same though. They couldn’t get into it. Fox and Tenenbaums are real highlights for me also. I’m currently working on a review of Fox but I’m doing it from memory, it’s been a while since I seen it.

          Mark Walker

          June 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

          • Actually I’ve had that topic in my backhead. It feels as if I need some further proof on my theory though, some examples of when I’ve watched a movie on a second occasion and completely changed view on it. I’ve got a very bad memory though, so while I know it has happened to me I can’t come up with the solid evidence, saying when and how and to which movie. I’ll let this keep brewing though and perhaps a post will pop up.

            And thank you for the suggestion! It’s very generous of you and I’m always up for ideas about what to discuss next.

            Jessica

            June 4, 2012 at 7:44 am

    • The original is the best. :) Actually I don’t mind quirky. I love it. I’ve never understood why it gets so much contempt.

      Jessica

      June 3, 2012 at 11:10 pm

  5. Heh, I loved Rushmore and didn’t like the Darjeerling. I also loved The Royal Tenenbaums so I’m looking forwards to seeing this movie.

    My sister and father used to go “man, you picked a weird movie” which was guaranteed to make me go in defensive mode. I just hate it when people tell that after watching a movie for a few minutes. And heck, being weird is a lot more fun than being your average Hollywood movie where you can tell what’s going to happen minutes before it happens.

    carrandas

    June 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    • I think you’ll be happy about this one, even if we seem to be on the opposite sides about his previous movies.

      For me “weird” is actually a good thing. Take it as a compliment, no need to get defensive. :)

      Jessica

      June 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      • I just saw it and it’s well, quirky… and funny, some lovely dry humor in there.

        TLDR: I liked it.

        carrandas

        September 22, 2012 at 12:08 am

        • Then we meet in our Anderson appreciation on this one!

          Jessica

          September 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

  6. [...] into my mind – reviews as well as general ranting”. She has thoughts up already for “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Prometheus” (Grrrr for getting to see “Moonrise Kingdom” already, [...]

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  8. [...]  3. Moonrise Kingdom Some movies will grow in your memory. I loved this film because it was beautiful, had a thoroughly enjoyable score and because it was goodhearted and ended on a positive note. This makes it stick out in my usually rather gloomy film diet and I’d be happy to see it again whenever I need some refreshment. [...]


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