If aliens came to Earth and demanded one piece of evidence why they should not blow up our planet, Wes Anderson’s new movie, Moonrise Kingdom, could save us all. It portrays humanity as a kind and decent species with a fine taste in music and visual esthetics. If after seeing Moonrise Kingdom the aliens do not leave us alone to love and read aloud to each other, they will at the very worst enslave us to dj and coordinate the decor of their intergalactic hotel lounges.
Wes Anderson’s previous movies (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Darjeeling Limited) are for the most part universally beloved. The only criticisms being that perhaps Anderson’s movies are a bit too derivative, a smidge too precious, and a tad too cool. These nitpicky accusations could be thrown at Moonrise Kingdom as it does seem to be adapted from a missing JD Salinger short story by way of a Truffaut film festival, but if you can’t forgive this movie for wearing its influences on its sleeve, you have a cold, cold heart.
Moonrise Kingdon tells the tale of a twelve year old orphan who runs away from scouting camp to be with his true love, Suzy. The kids are angsty and slightly disturbed which makes them seem more human forcing us to care about their fates even more. The adults in the movie want to find the kids which makes them antagonists, but because they too care for the kids (and are played by all sorts of charismatic movie stars from Ed Norton to Bruce Willis to Bill Murray), you root for them just as much as the protagonists.
You could complain that a scene with the prepubescent kids dancing in their underwear was in there just to provoke the Jerry Sanduskys of the world and you’d have a valid point. But other than that Moonrise Kingdom is pretty much a perfect movie. Sure some would argue that not everyone listened to Hank Williams in 1965 and the world is a far harsher place where there are no happy endings and there are more cruel people than kind, but isn’t that why we, not just the aliens, go to the movies? To get a peek of a better world than ours.