If you don't watch a lot of television that shows a lot of movie trailers then you may have never heard of Moonrise Kingdom. Indie films, such as this, usually don't make a very big impact at the box office and are rarely very popular. It is even more rare that an Indie film makes its way down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, so I had to give it a try. After watching the trailer, I didn't have high expectations really, but I was extremely intrigued as to how the random clips would turn into a story. Plus, with a cast as star-studded as this, I figured it had to be good. Bill Murray won't even do Ghostbusters 3, yet he will do Moonrise Kingdom? It HAS to be good. Usually, I am not a lover or hater of Indie films and their awkward vibe. But, I never know when one might sneak up and surprise me.
In my opinion, anytime a movie revolves around children, there is a 99% chance that I am going to enjoy it. Moonrise Kingdom did revolve around kids (very weird kids at that), and I enjoyed most every scene in which the kids were the focus. It was intriguing, to say the least. While the beginning felt very random and disconnected, the story came together extremely well at the end. The way the movie was filmed, as far as camera angles and such, really helped make it fun to watch. Although I did say that the story came together well, it didn't really blow me away. I kept waiting for a moment that was going to make me love Moonrise Kingdom, and that moment never came. This is not a very good review of the plot, but, if you do watch it, I want you to go in with the same clueless mindset that I had.
As I said, I loved the child actors. They really did a fantastic job of acting, to be as young as they were. Wes Anderson allowed them all to embrace their weirdness without sacrificing their childish attitude for dramatic moments. In a way, every situation involving the kids felt very real, as if it could happen to any kid. Usually, when there are kids in a film, the kids' reactions are unrealistic for dramatic purposes.
Negative: Sure, Bill Murray can be one of the funniest men on the planet, but he has to be in his element. He was definitely NOT in his element in Moonrise Kingdom. I felt like they wasted his talent on the rather pointless role of Walt Bishop. Along with Murray's wasted talent was the wasted talent of Tilda Swinton, who was even more pointless as "Social Services." She is a phenomenal actor, but she only had like three lines!
Positives: The two main characters, Sam and Suzy, were brilliantly played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Were they the best child actors ever? No... But their characters were so, so witty and enjoyably funny that the acting wasn't all that important. In addition to these two main characters, the other kids that were in the film also did a great job. There were just too many to name them. As good as the kids were, I was most impressed with Edward Norton's performance as Scout Master Ward. I have never, ever liked Norton, but he was absolutely brilliant and hilarious in this role.
While the story was well-rounded and interesting, it didn't exactly blow me off my feet like I hoped. Moonrise Kingdom was not one of those great Indie films that everyone will love, but it would be worth a watch, if you enjoy quirky, weird movies. This is actually the first Wes Anderson film that I have ever seen, so I can't really compare it to his others. The most exciting thing (to me at least) about this movie is the fact that it is playing in Hattiesburg! I wish we could get more Indie films in Hattiesburg, because there are many that look way better than Moonrise Kingdom that I have to wait to watch on DVD. As a business minded person, I know this will never happen, but, as a movie-lover, I can always hope! I give Moonrise Kingdom 2.55 out of 5 stars.