Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of Moonrise Kingdom

      Nostalgic moments of childhood are funny when we wonder how strongly we believed in stories like the stork bringing babies or how people actually lived inside television sets.

       In ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, Wes Anderson does an amazing job of taking us back to this world. Our heroes are 12 year olds –Sam Shakusky(Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), who start as pen pals, fall in love and escape to a forest in an idyllic island. Set in 1960s New England, this sepia tinted movie has a fairy-tale feeling.

      Sam attending ’Khaki Scouts’ summer camp is an orphan and is troubled with foster families, who do not need him. He finds solace in Suzy Bishop, who is unhappy with her constantly bickering parents - Laura (Frances McDormand) and Walt (Bill Murray) Bishop. They decide to elope.

    Sam Shakusky: Dear Suzy, walk four hundred yards due north from your house to the dirt path which has not got any name on it. Turn right and follow to the end. I will meet you in the meadow.

      Together they discover the joys of fishing, hiking the hills and woods, reading, camping and lo and behold, kissing!  Their adventure is threatened by multiple search parties .Camp master Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) launches a search party with the other boy scouts. Meanwhile, the sheriff of the island, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) also tries to rescue the kids.

    Sam Shakusky : What do you want to be when you grow up?
    Suzy Bishop    :  I don't know...I want to go on adventures I think; not get stuck in one place.

          Camouflaged in this story, is the unhappy troubled story of the adults. Captain Sharp and Laura Bishop’s affair as well as the life of Walt Bishop are melancholic. All of them want to do the right thing and hence put up with unhappiness.

           Two actors who make the movie worthwhile are Jared Gilman as Sam Shakusky and Bruce Willis as Captain Sharp. Jared Gilman as Sam, adds the right element of naughty glint in the eyes along with enough innocence to make audiences want to hug him.  You are also impressed by the transformation of ‘Die-Hard’ Bruce Willis, who, as a melancholic middle-aged sheriff in a small island evokes strong sympathy.

         Captain Sharp :  Let's face it. You're probably a much more intelligent person than I am. In fact, I guarantee it. But even smart kids stick their fingers in electrical sockets sometimes. It takes time to figure things out. It's been proven by history; all mankind makes mistakes...

      There are multiple chuckle-inducing scenes not because they are laugh out loud funny but because they are reminders of the innocence of kids and the awkwardness of 12 year olds.

       Sam Shakusky : Watch out for turtles. They'll bite you if you stick your finger in their mouths.

     The music, composed by Benjamin Britten, is soothing to the soul and adds an ethereal element.

     Moonrise Kingdom will take you back to the time when you first read ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and if like me, imagined yourself to be Becky Thatcher enjoying the adventures with Tom Sawyer.

     For today’s digital era kids, it is a wonderful story of creativity, ingenuity of surviving in the woods, enjoying nature, retreating to the wonders of reading and last of all, learning that one needn’t resort to cell phones and Facebook to have fun in life.

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