Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom [2012]

Moonrise Kingdom [2012]

Moonrise Kingdom [2012]
Director: Wes Anderson
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand
Runtime: 94 minutes

Moonrise Kingdom is the perfect antidote for these hot summer days. Light, vibrant and fun, Wes Anderson’s latest film takes us back to the days of being an adventurous kid.

The movie takes place in 1965 on a small New England island. There are no paved roads, and it is so sparsely populated that everyone knows each other. During the summer, the local “Khaki Scouts”, led by Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), set up camp there. As the group of boy scouts work on their badges, one of them sneaks out and runs away. This errant child, Sam (Jared Gilman), has set off to secretly rendezvous with his local crush, Suzy (Kara Hayward), who has also run away from home. Both are outcasts in their social groups, and they have been eagerly awaiting their chance to be together since their random first encounter the previous summer.

Moonrise Kingdom [2012]

Once the children are discovered to be missing, the island’s adults begin to panic. Scout Master Ward reaches out to police Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and the two of them begin a search party with the rest of the scouts. Suzy’s parents, Walt and Laura (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, respectively), are also informed of the situation and join the others in seeking out the missing children.

At its core, Moonrise Kingdom is a story of young love. Sam and Suzy will do anything to be together, and their awkward transition from friendship to dating lends itself to some amusing moments. Although both characters exhibit traits of erratic behavior, they are eminently likable. Wes Anderson did an excellent job with his casting of these two young unknown leads, as they steal the show from the big name adults found in the rest of the cast. It helps to have Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Bill Murray and others as support, but the children are more than capable in their roles. I will say, however, that it was a lot of fun to see guys like Harvey Keitel and Jason Schwartzman dressed up as scout masters.

Moonrise Kingdom [2012]

All of the familiar Wes Anderson traits are present here. He has succeeded in creating a colorful world that is unlike any other, and his trademark fashion selections are as wild and memorable as ever. For those who are less appreciative of his quirks, rest assured that Moonrise Kingdom is easily one of his most accessible feature films.

There were a few moments near the end of the film that I felt were a little too ridiculous (including one seemingly random lightning strike), but on the whole this is an especially enjoyable feature. This is a movie that anyone and everyone can enjoy, and it is one of the early summer highlights this year.

8/10