Hi. Is that Wes Anderson-y enough? How should I start… I weigh less than a slice of bread. There we go! I’m your conductor, thank you bunches for stopping by. Since we are living in this gorgeous autumn weather, I was in the mood for some Wes Anderson films. To be honest, his style could be a genre all on its own. So, I re-watched two of favorites: his stop-motion Fantastic Mr. Fox, adapted in part by the namesake Roald Dahl children’s book, and Moonrise Kingdom, a delightful little farce of two starstruck runaway preteens who turn their island community on its head. Which do I prefer? Well, by Jiminy Cricket let’s get this show rolling!
Moonrise Kingdom Review
Set entirely on a fictional island called New Penzance, it follows two 12-year olds pen pals who feel as if they don’t fit into their community and families. So they put into motion a plan to run away from their respective caretakers to the lush wilderness. Meanwhile, the local police officer instigates a collective medley of the runaways’ acquaintances to recover them.
I watched the film for the first time and kept my expectations in a decent tier, having seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and others prior. My expectations were matched, and I found myself enjoying myself throughout. The sense of humour in the dialogue and the tone is very warm and, in an unorthodox fashion, charming. It sort of reminded me of the Peanuts holiday specials in how they’re both whimsically witty, but one cannot simply decipher why so. While Anderson’s earlier picture The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou earned a reputation for almost having a ton of Anderson’s dry deadpan that it became overpowering, like a bit too much of a good seasoning. Thankfully, since Fantastic Mr. Fox the auteur has been back on the right track.
If you’ve seen at least two of this guy’s films, you would agree with me that the cinematography, which is the shots and framing of the picture, is stunning. I mean, wow! Again, Anderson has a remarkably neat and different approach to film by articulating every shot to look like a drawing in a great chapter book. Or a painting, for that matter. The multiple shades of greens and yellows radiate that true botanical garden essence.
With what Anderson accomplishes with his visual magnificence, does he confiscate for characters? Anyone with a detail-attentive mind may realise that Moonrise Kingdom could fall apart very easily. If the child performers can’t pull off a convincing act, disaster could strike. So for those reasons, I highly appreciate the actors of Sam, Suzy, and even the Khaki scouts as well. Bill Murray, a staple of Wes Anderson’s experiments, is hilarious in many scenes, Jason Schwartzman does fabulously with his potential despite the little screen time he has, and Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, and Bill Murray are all notable.
I really had a fun time with Moonrise Kingdom; it isn’t big or robust, nor flashy and pandering. Just a solid slice of Anderson’s pie. The flavours and color is worth at least one viewing. Honestly, go watch it already!
RATING: 10/10 “Lighttrain Reel of Excellence”
Fantastic Mr. Fox Review
Mr. Fox has long since left behind his debauchery and squab stealing lifestyle. Or, so we may think. After moving his family right nearby a trio of crooked farmers, the fat Boggis, the short Bunce, and the lean, mean Bean, Mr. Fox reverts back to his conniving ways and burglarises all three. In retaliation, the farmers destroy their home as well as cause strains between the foxes’ relationships. Can Mr. Fox overcome the farmers, and maybe even make things right?
As with most Roald Dahl stories, Fantastic Mr. Fox manages to entertain all age groups in the audience, from children to adults. And unlike most of Dahl’s movie adaptations which stray from his signature dry sense of humor and dark, mature themes, Anderson succeeds in this front. In many ways, both creative maestros have a lot in common. Yeah okay, the movies is definitely a smidge more lighthearted than Dahl’s books, but there’s still a fair serving of smoking, “cussing” , and a bunch of touches that will only click with older audiences.
The film is also unique when it boils down to the artistry and the characters. It’s a shame how many shiny, celebrity voiced computer animated family fests are dumped out today. Disney and Pixar release some good stuff now and then, and Blue Sky reached the stars on one occasion with the surprisingly amusing Peanuts Movie. However, the use of traditional and rough claymation is astounding in a way CGI never could be for this particular project. To me, the style and stop motion to hand in hand rather well. The characters are additionally one of my favorite parts of the adaptation. My personal favorites were cousin Kristofferson, a likeable and talented character that has a name I would genuinely give to a kid of my own. If I were to have one, that is! Another favorite is Wally Wolodarsky as the mild-mannered Kylie, an opossum who tags along with Mr. Fox as his sort of right hand man.
There is something off with the pacing at times though; it’s a lot of short fragments and abrupt in’s and out’s, instead of a clear linear path. And for all its praises, it’s understandable that a minority of folks might not get Anderson’s trademarks and whatnot. If you’re looking for a movie to wholly quiet younglings, not going to do the trick chief. That’s just my inner critic though, and many will pleasantly overlook the bruises.
In a word, Fantastic Mr. Fox is fantastic. Tributing Roald Dahl’s genius and the lost art form of crude stop motion masterpieces, this film can appeal to anybody and everybody. Similarly to the Fall tones of oranges and yellows, the experience will leave you feeling warm and homey. It’s perplexing, beautiful, funny, smart, and adorable all at once. We need more films like Fantastic Mr. Fox, ones that can teach us how to be a carefree kid again, if only for a time.
RATING: 10/10 “Lighttrain Reel of Excellence”
Well, what do you know! Two 10/10 flicks. I wish you a very merry Thanksgiving and thank you so much once again for reading along this evening. What’s your favorite Wes Anderson movie? Please like, share, comment, or subscribe if you enjoyed our post and as always, stay stellar.
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