Moonrise Kingdom (Film Review)

Moonrise Kingdom (Film Review)

Having recently watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, I can feel myself veering into a Wes Anderson kick, and I decided to start that off with my first viewing of Moonrise Kingdom, since it is on Netflix Canada.

moon2The story takes place in New Penzance, in 1965. A small island that remains relatively untouched from the trials and tribulations of the outside world, we are introduced to the usual group of Wes Anderson quirky characters that make all of his stories really click. The central plot revolves around Sam and Suzy, two 12-year-old kids who fall in love, and decide to run away together. This causes a search party to be organized by the adults of the island, a group littered with Anderson favorites: Bill Murray (Suzy’s father), Edward Norton (Sam’s scout master), and even Bruce Willis (the police officer).

The story of Moonrise Kingdom is so great because Anderson is able to give life to such a perfect and nostalgic time of first love. The relationship between not only the adults, but the kids themselves, provide a very enjoyable look back to a more innocent time, when love was unrealistic and fun. The journey of Sam and Suzy is absolutely great, as they move from awkward to great together in a short span of time. As with most Anderson films, Moonrise Kingdom is great to look at, shot with interesting views and colours throughout, providing a somewhat dream-like quality to the formative time in the lives of the kids.

moon3However, the best part of the film belongs to the two young actors that absolutely make this a great film. Sam is played exceptionally well by Jared Gilman, a young man who is able to take Anderson’s dialogue, and absolutely own it. His oddness, and self-awareness at such a young age comes across as deliciously quirky while still remaining honest and true. His counterpart, Suzy, is played by Kara Hayward, a young actress who will surely be on the road to being one of the “next big things” out there. Her performance is absolutely perfect. She is able to humanize the deadpan Suzy, and make her infinitely likable, despite her overreactions and bottled up rage that she is most often able to keep under wraps. Together, Hayward and Gilman create a fantastic on screen duo, and one that we definitely root for as an audience. They are young, they are lost in their respective worlds, and they want escape, and they manage to find it perfectly with one another.

At times, it is a tender, and beautiful, relationship.

moon4Due to the very high reviews across most sites for the film, it is apparent that Moonrise Kingdom has received the accolades it deserves for being an excellent film. It is not entirely different from anything else Anderson has done in his career, but when it comes down to it, he has made another movie that is fun to watch, has some great subtle humour, many nods to his other work, to the point where Anderson definitely needs to be considered in the auteur category of filmmakers, and provides us with a fun and interesting story that will surely keep viewers entertained for the reasonable run time of the film. For fans of his, it is an absolute must-see and a vital part of his growing collection of very good films. For fans of film, it gives us two new actors putting on display their great potential for more good roles in the future, and in Hayward, a possible future star in the industry.

Truly Terrible: A Good Day To Die Hard

dieWho isn’t a fan of the Die Hard movies? The first two gave us gratuitous bloodshed and fun. The surprising third one gave us a fun puzzle movie, and the fourth, while cheesy and ridiculous, gave us non-stop action and some pretty funny moments between Bruce Willis and Justin Long.

A Good Day To Die Hard, the fifth installment in the series, gave us none of those things, and it was truly an awful movie.

die2First, I’ll mention the good parts. The opening car chase scene was insane and over-the-top, but there was some good destruction. The evil Russian girl is very attractive. And the music in the movie was strong and suspenseful.

And that is it. Everything else about this movie was simply awful, and hopefully represents the death rattle in this series that had become so beloved by so many people (I have just read that they are planning to make Die Hard 6, so there goes that idea). Since there were so many things wrong with this flick, I will give them the quick hit treatment, as to not prolong the suffering.

  • Bruce Willis got old. And looks bad.
  • Bruce Willis was pretty much reduced to a sidekick in the movie. Unfortunately, his son, the hero, is awful.
  • Terrible acting, highlighted by how bad the son was (Jai Courtney was deplorable).
  • Insincere and forced relationship storyline between father and son (and did I miss this from the previous movies, but since when does John have a son?).
  • There is no real plot. Something about people trying to get plutonium out of Chernobyl.
  • Is it really safe to be wandering around Chernobyl with no radiation suit?
  • It is set in Russia. It doesn’t fit for this movie and ruins the idea of John McLane as an American hero.
  • Who is actually the villain in this movie?
  • The editing was terrible and seemed thrown together, especially during the action scenes.
  • There was not a single funny line in the film. Usually you can expect a couple of good one-liners in this series. None to be seen here.
  • Some pretty cheesy CG at the climactic helicopter scene of Willis.
  • It runs at about an hour and a half. I would have been pissed if I had paid to see that in the theatre.
  • McLane doesn’t seem to get hurt. Ever. He used to be loved because he was an everyman hero. Now he is practically indestructible. And it ruins his character.

I could probably go on. This movie deserves its place among Top 10 lists of the years worst films. I’m just going to go ahead and forget that this installment even exists, and enjoy the Die Hard series as a group of four films.