Sunday, June 24, 2012

Marvelous Moonrise

There's nothing worse than when a Wes Anderson movie comes out and I haven't made it to the theater just yet. I'm constantly dodging any mention or online review right up until the moment I see it, which is an art in and of itself. Luckily, I managed to catch Moonrise Kingdom last night in a zero-spoiler condition.

Wes has always had a knack for discovering young actors who can deliver his lines just the way he wants. But in Moonrise Kingdom, he manages to take this skill to new heights in the form of his superb leads: Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Gilman perfectly plays that doesn't-know-he's-hip geek named Sam capturing the heart of Hayward's character Suzy whose irresistible Margot-Tenenbaum-meets-Lana-del-Rey vibe nearly steals the show.

Everything you love about a Wes Anderson film is present—record players, hand-drawn book covers, long super-symmetrical camera angles, richly vintage sets and of course, Bill Murray—with three exceptions. Futura, his signature font is replaced with beautiful, scritpy, custom typeface by Jessica Hische. The token Wilson brother is more or less replaced by Ed Norton. And the score, typically penned by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo fame, has also been reduced without a major misstep.

Moonrise's music is a fantastic combination of true-to-the-era orchestral arrangements by Benjamin Britten mixed with new Wes-Anderson-esque tracks composed by Alexandre Desplat and supplemented with a healthy dose of Hank Williams. I highly recommend staying through all of the end credits, not only are they wonderfully animated, the instrumental awesomeness narrated by Jared Gilman is a flawless final touch.

Bottom line, Moonrise Kingdom nails that very analog, very Norman Rockwell look and feel that's chockfull of #campvibes. It's the type of story that makes you wish you'd snuck away with the gal that ran the nature tent at your Boy Scout camp in upstate NY, rather than attempt yet another boondoggle keychain.

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