Five Reasons You Need To See Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’

by Adam Murphy

When it comes to Wes Anderson, moviegoers fall neatly into two piles: those who love him, and those who’ve never heard of him. What’s that? His twee sensibilities are just a little too indie-quirky-cute for you? Well, “Moonrise Kingdom” may surprise even the most jaded viewers. Sure, it’s packed with Anderson’s trademark strand of oddball whimsy, but for the haters out there, you will find a well-acted and tightly written 90 minute movie with enough heart to melt the iceberg that resides in your frigid chest cavity.

For those of you who aren’t already picking up your Rushmore blazer from the dry cleaner to wear to the very first screening, here are five reasons to see “Moonrise Kingdom.”

Children with Wilderness Training
Granted, “Moonrise Kingdom” is set in the 1960s, but aren’t you sick and tired of these anemic wimps with their “attachment parenting” and their “peanut allergies”? Heck, I sure am. In “Moonrise,” you’ll find kids at their best: orienteering (sans iPhone), starting fires, and running through the wilderness wielding homemade weapons. Millennials, take note: kids used to earn merit badges not just for showing up, but for using every part of the wild boar he killed with the trap he made from a bunch of sticks and thistles.

Newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman
After months of looking at postage stamp-sized Quicktime movies of potential candidates, Anderson cast the young leads of “Moonrise Kingdom” perfectly. Gilman’s dark hair, glasses, and overall fastidiousness remind us of a young Max Fisher, and Hayward has the style and demeanor of a miniature Margot Tenenbaum. These charmingly deviant youths carry the film effortlessly.

Elite Scouts (or, “the Scouteratti”)
There’s something distinctly Andersonian about a (grown) man in (a child’s) uniform. Edward Norton’s Scout Master Ward is a leader of men; or, more accurately, a leader of boys. He is highly trained and prepared for anything that could possibly happen in the woods. Whether these skills translate to real life remains to be seen, but in an Anderson movie, why would you be concerned with actual reality?

The Soundtrack
This is another pitch-perfect soundtrack for Anderson. The only popular tracks you’re likely to recognize are a few Hank Williams tunes that provide Bruce Willis’ Captain Sharp with an atmosphere appropriate for steeping in his own lonesomeness. The real treats here are the excerpts from “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” instructional 45s that break down for children the basics of classical music.

The Holy Matrimony of Bill Murray and Frances McDormand
Their relationship is embattled to say the least, but it’s nice to finally see these two under the same roof. That’s all.

Tell us what you thought of “Moonrise Kingdom” in the comments or on Twitter!