Disappointed is really the best word for how I feel about Wes Anderson’s newest, Moonrise Kingdom. I heard people compare it to The Royal Tenenbaums, though I would say it was definitely a Life Aquatic style of film. It was over scripted, overt-stylized and essentially a cartoon with real people in it. Towards the end of the film I expected to hear cartoon sound effects, it wouldn’t have surprised me in the least.
These are words I didn’t want to write. I wanted to love this movie. I wanted Sam Shakusky to be the Max Fischer for the two thousand-teens. I wanted the wild, adventurous feelings of Darjeeling Limited. I hoped for the free-wheeling, but carefully crafted, dialogue of Royal Tenenbaums. Sadly I think that Anderson out Anderson-ed himself with this one. This is what people trying to copy Wes Anderson creates. I felt more real emotion from a claymation fox with the voice of Meryl Streep than I did of any of the characters in this film.
I can’t completely discount this film though. It did make me laugh, like seeing an old friend after a long time, sharing stories from old times. But no new ground was tread here. What could have been the My Girl of a new generation was an overly stylized piece of film with a story where nothing happens and no one grows. What’s exciting about a movie where nothing changes?
I think this is a part of Anderson’s cycle though. If we leave out Bottle Rocket, he makes two good films (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) then one that’s pretty meh (The Life Aquatic). The Darjeeling Limited was pretty good, about a 6 out of 10, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox was super fun, an 8 out of 10. So it only makes sense that he loses it a little bit and makes a film like this. If my theory is correct, the next film should be another gem.