Film:
There's something about Wes Anderson's films that remind you that you're watching a movie during his films. That escapism is usually interrupted by some element or the other. Maybe it's his film's bizarre music selection (more on that later) or his pretentious film school shots that do this, but I enjoy his films, most of them anyway (The Darjeeling Limited being the exception). Moonrise Kingdom is his grand return to live-action filmmaking after his departure in stop-motion animation with The Fantastic Mr. Fox, an adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic.

I personally enjoyed The Fantastic Mr. Fox the most of any of his other films, including Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, maybe because it captures what most of his films are about, love, and he doesn't taint it with all the other depressing elements that permeate his other films.

Whether it's unrequited love between a teenager and his teacher, between a dying father and his children, brotherly, or just love for a past time gone by, Anderson has a very innocent idea of what love is and it's usually at odds with the world his characters are put in.  Nothing is different in the world of Moonrise Kingdom.

That being said, Moonrise Kingdom captures this innocence most effectively with the story of two 12-year-olds, Sam and Suzy, who fall in love and run away together into the wilderness to escape their depressing lives in the real world, only to be perused by several authorities, including Suzy's neglectful parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, respectfully), the town's sheriff, Mr. Sharp (Bruce Willis), and a hapless Khaki Scout troop leader, Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), to bring them home before an approaching hurricane hits the island of New Penzance.


Like The Fantastic Mr. Fox, the film feels like a children's book turned into a feature film, having Bob Balaban as the omniscient narrator who seems to know more about the story, emotions of the characters, and future events than any one else in the film, and even intervenes to provide some help. If God were to exist in a Wes Anderson film, I would fancy he would like this:

The real heart of the story comes with Sam and Suzy because of the honest portrayals by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, respectfully, who capture the awkwardness of first love, of discovering one self, and of just fitting in. There is no pretension in their acting, and maybe this is because they are relatively novice in their careers, this being Gilman's first acting gig and Hayward having only acted in school plays. Either way, these kids should have a bright future as long as they don't go through the Osment effect.

At first, it's hard to relate to Sam, because he just seems like a "weird" kid, the way everyone describes him to be. Even in his early introduction, when he's chewing his gum obnoxiously, you just want to punch him in the face. He pretends to know more than he does, carries an air of superiority, but he is really just a scared child, and as his backstory unfolds, so do your early perceptions of him. Suzy, on the other hand, disappears in her books, all fairy tales about girls who don't belong or are different. At first, it's hard to believe that a cute girl would ever give this weird kid a chance, but then you learn more about her. As she states, "I prefer stories with magic powers in them. Either in kingdoms on earth or on foreign planets. Usually, I prefer a girl hero, but not always." Like her books, such as The Francine Odysseys, The Girl from Jupiter, The Disappearance of the 6th Grade, she would rather disappear into her own fairy land. But Sam and Suzy complement one another.  Each character, in a way, brings each other down to earth, and provide a tether to humanity. For the first time, someone is just treating them like normal individuals and so they begin to drop their exoskeletons. This is why their love story works, because it's more about being accepted than actual love. 
The irony of the film comes from the adult characters, these authority figures, who are more lost than the children characters, the ones that they are trying to stop from ruining their lives by eloping and being happy. What do adults know of happiness? Apparently, not much, for all they do is bicker, drink, and fight, at least according to Wes Anderson. Anderson knows how to devise a lost character, and for the most part, each character works except for the Bishops, who are caricatures that seem to waste the great acting abilities of Murray and McDormand. Unlike the other adult characters, their realization comes in acknowledging that they are horrible parents before going to bed. And like that, they roll over to their respective sides of their bed and go to sleep to just continue being horrible human beings. Murray is playing a version of his lost soul character seen in Lost in Translation and Broken Flowers and as much as I like Murray, I feel he deserves a little bit more range than just being a walking zombie.
Norton and Willis shine as mostly inept members of their own professions, both relatively having empty lives but their jobs, and finding their calling through the search for the missing kids. In a way, these missing kids represent the innocence, the love, the adventure that has gone amiss in their lives, and only by finding them, can things be set right. It's their search for the elixir of their youth and their journey brings change unlike with the Bishops.

The slow-paced momentum of the film will detract some viewers, but most people should come to expect this from a Wes Anderson film. It's a modern day fairy tale that is full of enchantment for those who are willing to allow the ridiculousness to unfold without cynicism. It dares you to put on your goggles of innocence and enjoy these extreme characters, their absurd journeys, and most importantly, the hope that things can change. Coming off the magical coattails of The Fantasic Mr. Fox, Anderson captures the same magic and creates a modern classic that reminds people that original stories are still possible in Hollywood.  It is currently playing in select theaters and seems poised to be the summer's sleeper hit if gets released in more theaters.  Like Suzy's binoculars, this film should be sought out and given a closer look.
Soundtrack:

What can I say about the soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom to pay it justice? The music is weird. It's eccentric. It has classical, country, opera, French music, some original musical pieces by Alexandre Desplat, and I'm pretty sure I'm still missing something. And I love it. On it's own, it works like a weird smorgasbord of sound, having Hank Williams yodel his way between several classical pieces by the English Opera Group Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and much more. 
During the first time seeing the film, it does seem intrusive and distracting, but the more I've listened to the soundtrack, the more I see how without it, part of the magic would be lost.  It interlocks with the film to create an experience, an emotional resonance with the characters and the setting.  The music provides each character their own theme song.  The Hank Williams songs ("Kaw-Liga," "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," and "Ramblin' Man") chosen for the film reflect the adventurous and wild nature of Sam and Suzy.  The classical pieces feel like a call to war, sometimes instruments battling within the musical piece itself for dominance, sometimes angelic voices battered against the instruments as if shouting back.  The sharp contrast makes for exciting music, regardless if you are an avid classical music listener, which I'm not.  

The melodies created by Alexandre Desplat are haunting in a very fanciful way, as if wandering through an enchanted forrest that is full of mystery and adventure. It makes you want to scan the entire screen as if searching for Waldo in the beautiful landscape. Coming off working on scores for Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, David Yate's two Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows films, George Clooney's The Ides of March, and David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, just to name a few, it shows his versatility.  He is definitely a composer who is in the prime of his game. What I like about Desplat is that you can't always recognize that it's his work, say like a Danny Elfman or even a John Williams or Hans Zimmer. He is a chameleon of form and doesn't seem to be pigeon holed in his ways. Like Anderson, he is always trying new things and I hope that they continue to collaborate together, because I feel that Desplat's music complements Anderson's type of storytelling very well.

Unlike most other soundtracks to Anderson's films, this is most likely his least mainstream, but it is also his most fully-conceived collection of music, full of imagination as he captures so many moods that it works as a standalone component.  If you are a fan of movie soundtracks, I would suggest to pick up a copy even if you haven't seen the film.  The Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack is currently out.


Film:
There's something about Wes Anderson's films that remind you that you're watching a movie during his films. That escapism is usually interrupted by some element or the other. Maybe it's his film's bizarre music selection (more on that later) or his pretentious film school shots that do this, but I enjoy his films, most of them anyway (The Darjeeling Limited being the exception). Moonrise Kingdom is his grand return to live-action filmmaking after his departure in stop-motion animation with The Fantastic Mr. Fox, an adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic.

I personally enjoyed The Fantastic Mr. Fox the most of any of his other films, including Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, maybe because it captures what most of his films are about, love, and he doesn't taint it with all the other depressing elements that permeate his other films.

Whether it's unrequited love between a teenager and his teacher, between a dying father and his children, brotherly, or just love for a past time gone by, Anderson has a very innocent idea of what love is and it's usually at odds with the world his characters are put in.  Nothing is different in the world of Moonrise Kingdom.

That being said, Moonrise Kingdom captures this innocence most effectively with the story of two 12-year-olds, Sam and Suzy, who fall in love and run away together into the wilderness to escape their depressing lives in the real world, only to be perused by several authorities, including Suzy's neglectful parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, respectfully), the town's sheriff, Mr. Sharp (Bruce Willis), and a hapless Khaki Scout troop leader, Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), to bring them home before an approaching hurricane hits the island of New Penzance.


Like The Fantastic Mr. Fox, the film feels like a children's book turned into a feature film, having Bob Balaban as the omniscient narrator who seems to know more about the story, emotions of the characters, and future events than any one else in the film, and even intervenes to provide some help. If God were to exist in a Wes Anderson film, I would fancy he would like this:

The real heart of the story comes with Sam and Suzy because of the honest portrayals by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, respectfully, who capture the awkwardness of first love, of discovering one self, and of just fitting in. There is no pretension in their acting, and maybe this is because they are relatively novice in their careers, this being Gilman's first acting gig and Hayward having only acted in school plays. Either way, these kids should have a bright future as long as they don't go through the Osment effect.

At first, it's hard to relate to Sam, because he just seems like a "weird" kid, the way everyone describes him to be. Even in his early introduction, when he's chewing his gum obnoxiously, you just want to punch him in the face. He pretends to know more than he does, carries an air of superiority, but he is really just a scared child, and as his backstory unfolds, so do your early perceptions of him. Suzy, on the other hand, disappears in her books, all fairy tales about girls who don't belong or are different. At first, it's hard to believe that a cute girl would ever give this weird kid a chance, but then you learn more about her. As she states, "I prefer stories with magic powers in them. Either in kingdoms on earth or on foreign planets. Usually, I prefer a girl hero, but not always." Like her books, such as The Francine Odysseys, The Girl from Jupiter, The Disappearance of the 6th Grade, she would rather disappear into her own fairy land. But Sam and Suzy complement one another.  Each character, in a way, brings each other down to earth, and provide a tether to humanity. For the first time, someone is just treating them like normal individuals and so they begin to drop their exoskeletons. This is why their love story works, because it's more about being accepted than actual love. 
The irony of the film comes from the adult characters, these authority figures, who are more lost than the children characters, the ones that they are trying to stop from ruining their lives by eloping and being happy. What do adults know of happiness? Apparently, not much, for all they do is bicker, drink, and fight, at least according to Wes Anderson. Anderson knows how to devise a lost character, and for the most part, each character works except for the Bishops, who are caricatures that seem to waste the great acting abilities of Murray and McDormand. Unlike the other adult characters, their realization comes in acknowledging that they are horrible parents before going to bed. And like that, they roll over to their respective sides of their bed and go to sleep to just continue being horrible human beings. Murray is playing a version of his lost soul character seen in Lost in Translation and Broken Flowers and as much as I like Murray, I feel he deserves a little bit more range than just being a walking zombie.
Norton and Willis shine as mostly inept members of their own professions, both relatively having empty lives but their jobs, and finding their calling through the search for the missing kids. In a way, these missing kids represent the innocence, the love, the adventure that has gone amiss in their lives, and only by finding them, can things be set right. It's their search for the elixir of their youth and their journey brings change unlike with the Bishops.

The slow-paced momentum of the film will detract some viewers, but most people should come to expect this from a Wes Anderson film. It's a modern day fairy tale that is full of enchantment for those who are willing to allow the ridiculousness to unfold without cynicism. It dares you to put on your goggles of innocence and enjoy these extreme characters, their absurd journeys, and most importantly, the hope that things can change. Coming off the magical coattails of The Fantasic Mr. Fox, Anderson captures the same magic and creates a modern classic that reminds people that original stories are still possible in Hollywood.  It is currently playing in select theaters and seems poised to be the summer's sleeper hit if gets released in more theaters.  Like Suzy's binoculars, this film should be sought out and given a closer look.
Soundtrack:

What can I say about the soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom to pay it justice? The music is weird. It's eccentric. It has classical, country, opera, French music, some original musical pieces by Alexandre Desplat, and I'm pretty sure I'm still missing something. And I love it. On it's own, it works like a weird smorgasbord of sound, having Hank Williams yodel his way between several classical pieces by the English Opera Group Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and much more. 
During the first time seeing the film, it does seem intrusive and distracting, but the more I've listened to the soundtrack, the more I see how without it, part of the magic would be lost.  It interlocks with the film to create an experience, an emotional resonance with the characters and the setting.  The music provides each character their own theme song.  The Hank Williams songs ("Kaw-Liga," "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," and "Ramblin' Man") chosen for the film reflect the adventurous and wild nature of Sam and Suzy.  The classical pieces feel like a call to war, sometimes instruments battling within the musical piece itself for dominance, sometimes angelic voices battered against the instruments as if shouting back.  The sharp contrast makes for exciting music, regardless if you are an avid classical music listener, which I'm not.  

The melodies created by Alexandre Desplat are haunting in a very fanciful way, as if wandering through an enchanted forrest that is full of mystery and adventure. It makes you want to scan the entire screen as if searching for Waldo in the beautiful landscape. Coming off working on scores for Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, David Yate's two Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows films, George Clooney's The Ides of March, and David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, just to name a few, it shows his versatility.  He is definitely a composer who is in the prime of his game. What I like about Desplat is that you can't always recognize that it's his work, say like a Danny Elfman or even a John Williams or Hans Zimmer. He is a chameleon of form and doesn't seem to be pigeon holed in his ways. Like Anderson, he is always trying new things and I hope that they continue to collaborate together, because I feel that Desplat's music complements Anderson's type of storytelling very well.

Unlike most other soundtracks to Anderson's films, this is most likely his least mainstream, but it is also his most fully-conceived collection of music, full of imagination as he captures so many moods that it works as a standalone component.  If you are a fan of movie soundtracks, I would suggest to pick up a copy even if you haven't seen the film.  The Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack is currently out.