Blu-ray Review: Moonrise Kingdom (Criterion) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Moonrise Kingdom

Studio: Criterion

Sep 28, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

On a summer night in New Penzance—an isolated island off the coast of New England—twelve-year-old Sam sneaks out of his tent to meet up with his young sweetheart, Suzy Bishop. The two kids met and fell in love one year prior at a church performance, cultivated their star-crossed romance as pen pals and made secret plans to run away together. They meet in a meadow and embark along the island’s Native American trails, unwittingly just days ahead of one of New Penzance’s famously dangerous hurricanes. They’re pursued by Sam’s scout master (Edward Norton) and fellow troopers, a kindhearted local cop (Bruce Willis) and Suzy’s distraught parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand.) Jason Schwatzman and Tilda Swinton also appear as a troop leader at a local Khaki Scout camp and a Social Services agent (named Social Services), respectively.

Anderson has almost as many detractors as fans, primarily among those who can’t see past his output’s meticulously-cultured twee-ness. (Look at any negative reviews of Belle & Sebastian records from the late ‘90s to find similar criticisms.)While Moonrise Kingdom possesses all of the director’s trademarks—quirky outfits, dry delivery, dollhouse-like sets, bold color palettes, title cards, ‘60s pop cues, delicate symmetry, splitscreen, and a near-rabid fetishization of outdated technologies—it’s hard to imagine that even his most ardent haters won’t find the innocent love story at Moonrise Kingdom‘s heart endearing, or at least palatable. (And there are the many who lap up Anderson’s schtick—this reviewer included—who will see an overabundance of the director’s pronounced idiosyncrasies as a tick in the positive column.) The script may be the film’s greatest strength: the movie is probably Anderson’s most quotable, and listening to the child actors sometimes speak like world-weary grown-ups fits the film’s melan-comic tone.

If you’re one of the people who thinks Anderson’s films can be too cute, you should see the packaging Criterion’s new Blu-ray edition arrives in. The digipack-style cardboard case is bedecked with the oil painting of Sam and Suzy’s hideaway cove that’s seen at the film’s end, and opens to reveal a pocket containing the disc’s booklet, a postcard-sized cast photo, and a fold-out map of Penzance Island, like one you’d find tucked inside an issue of National Geographic. (It’s enough to make you say “D’awwww.”) The bulk of the extra features feel tailor-made for the movie’s home video release, including a faux-introduction for the film shot on-set and starring an in-character Jason Schwartzman, a behind-the-scenes reel and animated versions of Suzy’s many YA fantasy novels introduced by the movie’s narrator, and a set tour hosted by Bill Murray. The features new to this release include a commentary with Anderson, Murray, Schwartzman, Norton and Coppola; a series of iPhone home videos shot by Norton during filming, including fun things like footage of a Scrabble game between Norton, Swinton, and McDormand; and a three-minute audio clip accompanied by photos from a production of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde. The bountiful extras certainly enrich the movie experience and offer up many great peeks behind the scenes, even if they won’t sway anyone not already enamored with Anderson’s style of filmmaking toward a new appreciation of the film. Anderson fans, though, are going to want this edition of the film.

Author rating: 7.5/10

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December 2nd 2015

Thanks for telling your great and informative post.I saw several time the film of Anderson.It is really a awesome film.

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December 14th 2015

I every time all about you.I am really thankful to you.