[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9558[/img]Title: Moonrise Kingdom
Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Kara Hayward, Frances McDormand, Jared Gilman, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Studio: Indian Paintbrush
Runtime: 94 min
Blu-ray Release Date: October 16 2012
HTS Overall Score: 72.5
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9562[/img]Wes Anderson’s quirky new storybook world is set on the fictional isolated island of New Penzance, New England in the 1960s. It’s a whimsical coming-of-age tale of two youngsters in love, Sam (Gilman) and Suzy (Hayward) who by correspondence agree to run away from their current dwellings one summer and meet at a prearranged spot. Sam a Khaki Scout at Camp Ivanhoe run by Scout Master Ward (Norton) sneaks away in the middle of the night, but courteously leaves behind a letter of resignation stating he doesn’t wish to be part of the group any longer. Suzy following Sam’s directions flees her home at night to eventually meet up with Sam. Their disappearance sparks a search by a handful of unforgettable characters including Scout Master Ward, Sam’s serious and eccentric troop mates who arm themselves with spikey self-crafted Medieval weapons, Khaki Scout Commander Pierce (Keitel), Khaki Scout member Cousin Ben (Schwartzman), a Social Services agent who goes simply by Social Services (Swinton), restrained policeman Captain Sharp (Willis), and Suzy’s parents Walt Bishop (Murray) and Laura Bishop (McDormand).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9559[/img]There’s a real innocence to the “love” (because how much can they really know about it) that Suzy and Sam share and as they trek through the wilderness periodically stopping to eat and hydrate, and for Sam to paint Suzy in her undergarments (a pretty risqué scene in my opinion) their adventure grasps you and pulls you in to the point where seemingly meaningless details become captivating; this is the spell that Anderson is able to cast on you. As the need to find Sam and Suzy builds (there’s a severe storm looming, of which we’re notified by a narrator/cartographer played by Balaban) your compassion for both Sam and Suzy and their parents and those involved in the search rises. Sam and Suzy’s impulsive and reckless dalliance is on the one side peppered with adult actions, and yet it’s also so care-free and sincere that although they’re causing everyone attached to the search a certain level of grief, you’re rooting for them to continue.
The search for Sam and Suzy is an engaging comedy of errors amongst some of the inept adults and for the most part and appreciably it stays on that path. That’s not to say the entire endeavor in locating the runaways is fraught with bumbling acts and silly decisions, the children are the priority, but during the search things get increasingly complicated for some characters as relationship elements are introduced.
Wes Anderson movies take place in a world of his own where the amount of detail that goes into every scene is only matched by his previous magnificent works. The production value is extremely high, the sets are beautiful and gorgeous and the costume design is so well thought out. Colors are bright, vivid and every frame has that distinct Wes Anderson look. Every frame looks like a painting that I would gladly hang on my wall. The amount of work that goes into assembling the sets and arranging the scenes is tremendous.
One of the hallmarks of an Anderson movie is the characters he creates. Their personalities usually seem to be reserved, calm and subdued. Even their actions are rarely outlandish or too physical, yet the minimalistic way that each actor portrays their character results in something grand, everlasting, special and unforgettable; kudos to all the young mainly unknown actors who did a superb job.
PG-13 for sexual content and smoking.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9564[/img]Equal to the amount of precision and diligence that went into physically creating the dreamy world of Moonrise Kingdom, the soundtrack is complex, immersive and pays attention to even the slightest of sounds. The robust opening score fills the room with an enveloping sensation and for the remainder of the movie swells up and quiets to set the mood. Small seemingly insignificant sounds are heightened and brought to the foreground providing for an “in-the-moment” experience. Wilderness sounds are plentiful and constant. Daily environmental sounds like doors opening, floors creaking, footsteps, and other routine things interior related have a noticeable presence not usually incorporated so well in semi-indie films. Outdoor sounds like twigs snapping, the leaves rustling, and water flowing are also brought to the forefront. There’s a perfect symmetry between the sounds of nature and human manufactured sounds, both directly and indirectly (the sizzle of fish frying). Weather sounds are prominent, one especially during a rainstorm when it sounds like you’re literally standing in the middle of one. Despite the incredible breadth of sounds and noises all nicely prioritized, the dialogue (written perfectly I might add) always appreciably takes center stage and is always in nice balance with its surroundings. The soundtrack in Moonrise Kingdom gives all the speakers and sub-woofer in a 5.1 setup an even thorough workout. Audiophiles are definitely in for a treat.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9563[/img]Shot mostly outdoors, a combination of forested areas, the wilderness, and other pertinent locales, Moonrise Kingdom has an immediate noticeable yellowish and burnt overlay. Trees, branches, and other foliage come across as lush and robust. The chosen color scheme doesn’t consume the footage or devolves the entirety of the movie, but it just makes the picture distinct. The numerous bespoke settings and props range in color from popping to being a bit darkish and muddled. The image in some spots has an intentional soft look. Other images even at night are crisp with no fuzziness around the edges. Textures on the khaki outfits the scouts wear are nicely smooth, other costumes are detailed finely. Facial detail ranges from highly detailed to slightly smooth. Black levels are consistent and graininess in certain dark scenes saturates the picture. A pivotal scene near the end has a bluish overlay that with the camera panned out looks very blurry and almost animated. The image quality in Moonrise Kingdom fluctuates from near perfect to soft to poor (just for a very short time), but overall is very pleasant, well-defined and stands out.
-“A Look Inside the World of Moonrise Kingdom” – a totally redundant explanation of the movie told by different actors and writer Roman Coppola
-“Welcome to the Island of New Penzance”
-“A Set Tour with Bill Murray” – this three minute featurette is displayed in a 4:3 aspect ratio skewing the entire bonus clip. Very disappointing!
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9560[/img]I honestly and unashamedly get giddy whenever I hear or read that Wes Anderson is going to be releasing another movie. The simple, but impactful worlds and characters he creates are, without exaggeration always dazzling and a joy to take in. The distinct appearance of the bespoke sets, props, and unique locations add to the experience. It may seem like I’m gushing with too much with adoration and being overly emotional toward this movie, but this is how Wes Anderson movies make me feel. Watching Moonrise Kingdom (again and surely not for the last time) was something special, a treat of sorts. It’s a movie worth owning and revisiting. If it wasn’t for the surety that a Criterion Edition Blu- ray is in the works containing loads of extras I would have bought this version, even with its very poor selection of extras. I own all of Wes Anderson’s movies on different formats and I can’t wait to eventually add this movie to my collection. If you haven’t guessed already, Moonrise Kingdom is a must rent in its current incarnation, a buy for early adopter Wes Anderson fans, and a must buy when the Criterion Edition is released.
Buy Moonrise Kingdom on Blu-ray at Amazon
Watch the Official Trailer
Watch the Official Trailer