Featuring an excellent cast and a delightful script, Moonrise Kingdom is one of the most entertaining and endearing movies of the year.
When I first saw that Bruce Willis and Edward Norton were part of the cast of this movie, I was a bit apprehensive. Edward Norton in a lighthearted coming-of-age film? This didn't seem like a winning combination. But upon seeing it, I can make no such disputes. Wes Anderson knows how to use his actors. The entire cast is fantastic, including the two young leads who approach their roles with such resolved determination and maturity hard not to imagine the circumstances they're in as being far more dire than they actually are. This is a characteristic a lot of Wes Anderson's movies have -- characters either overreacting to unsubstantial events, or under-reacting to to exaggerated events. Maybe in the real world these actions would feel out-of-place, but in Wes Anderson's world, it becomes totally believable.
One of the things I found myself enjoying most about the movie was how absurd, yet somehow plausible, everything about it seemed to be. Between the deadpan sincerity of its leads and the whimsical nature of many of the events taking place, this movie could potentially be looked at as pure fantasy. Much of it feels like a real-life cartoon, minus most of the action. In fact, very little of the action even takes place on-screen, revealing instead the aftermath -- which, in many instances, is even more entertaining than the action itself.
Before you even bother to watch this movie, you first need to ask yourself whether or not you like Wes Anderson. If you are a fan, I find it very unlikely that you could walk away from this movie without feeling satisfied, for both style and essence, everything about this movie is true to form for Anderson. However, if you don't like his films - due to these same reasons - I doubt you'll find yourself enjoying this movie. But if you are unaware of his previous movies, this is definitely worth checking out, for it serves as an excellent introduction to his signature style of film-making.
This really is an amazing little movie. Even disregarding the wit and creativity put into it, Moonrise Kingdom still has that wonderful ability to evoke happiness. As I was watching it, I found it hard not to consistently keep a smile on my face. It made me glad that I watched it. And ultimately, what more could you ask for from a movie than to simply make you happy?