It’s been quite a while since I have been to the movies, partly because they are crazy expensive and partly because I have lucked out and not had to see any kids movies lately (there is only so much animation I can take). I have been wanting to see Moonrise Kingdom because I really enjoyed Rushmore and because the trailer for the movie looks so surreal.
I’m sure there are better words than surreal to describe the trailer and the movie but I just can’t think of one right now. The movie is set in 1965 but it’s not the 1965 portrayed on “Mad Men”. It’s a 1965 that we might have wanted 1965 to be if we were sitting in 1965. It’s an incredible mix of fantasy, potential, and reality. It’s much more than a first love story centering around the two junior high aged main characters. The adults certainly have familiar problems and they sometimes react as we would expect them to and they sometimes react as we would like them to. The kids fulfill fantasies we all had as kids – escaping whatever situation they are in and striking out on their own but the movie captures the awkwardness and reality that comes with being given a chance to make such an escape. Most of us would have never made it out of the driveway.
There are multiple strong performances in the movie. Bruce Willis especially shines through because he plays a character that he doesn’t have the opportunity to play often. He may be recognized with awards or at least nominations when that time comes around. Edward Norton is also fantastic as the Scout Master. The kids, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, effortlessly make it all seem genuine.
I thought the story was good on its own but it’s the attention to detail at the hand of Wes Anderson that lifts it from good to magical. The visuals are fascinating, almost dream-like, to watch on a huge screen. Each scene is framed in such a way that you feel like you are looking at an old photo album rendered in Kodachrome colors. Instagram fans will wish they could make videos after seeing this.
I obviously highly recommend the movie. It’s not fall in the floor funny. It’s not grab a Kleenex sad. If Spider-Man is more your speed, you would probably walk out of this movie scratching your head so go see Spider-Man.
For me, it’s a 94 minute trip back to a childhood where fantasy can overtake reality not just for the kids but for the adults also and it’s a very satisfying trip indeed.