Let me start out by saying, the AMC Burbank was chaos. I happened to see this on opening weekend, and it was a bit of a cluster trying to find my theater and seats.
As I sat down, I mentally prepared myself for what every Wes Anderson fan enjoys: old typewriters, thick black glasses, record players, and the like. I was looking forward to seeing regular cast members like Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray sprinkled in with new faces, in this case Ed Norton and Bruce Willis. The excitement for Moonrise Kingdom to begin was felt throughout the entire theater. I didn't know much going in, and refrained from watching the trailer, because these days they tend to show all the best parts of the film. I overheard someone next to me say that Damon Lindelhof (co-creator of LOST) helped Anderson finish out the script. What a great idea! Having someone who wrote what is quite possibly the greatest ending in television history help out with your foray into this VERY different genre!
The film begins with a shot of what I imagine is Anderson's interpretation of "old earth". We then see an Alien like figure (Bill Murray?) toss a gel like substance into the water and immediately fall in and dissolve in the river. What follows is a stunning sequence of credits that take us through modern evolution and into the year 2089.
Moonrise Kingdom follows a group of explorers on their journey to find an ancient map, and what do ya know...they do. And just in time for us to hop on our imaginary fixed gear bicycles and join them on a ship named "Prometheus". The task was at hand, follow a map created by an ancient civilization to a different planet in hopes of finding the answer to the age old question, why are we here?
Every Anderson film has that one character, the one who mesmerizes you with his quirky charm and makes you laugh out loud with his ability to understand everything and nothing at all. In Moonrise Kingdom, that character is David. David is a robot created in human form and I assume, played by Schwartzman, who takes on a good deal of prosthetics to change his face and appearance. Well, it paid off my friend. He has matured as a leading man in ways very few child actors can. The true "Anderson moment", comes with David asking one question, "why did you create me"? What irony! A robot asking a human why he was created, all the while the human is on a journey to ask an alien god (Murray?) the same thing!
As African American ship Commander Janek, Bruce Willis gives Robert Downey Jr's Tropic Thunder character a run for his money. I wasn't sure who Ed Norton played, but being the kind of actor that really transforms himself for a role, it would be no surprise to find out he was jumping out of stomachs and attaching himself to faces the entire time.
As I was leaving, numerous people were overheard talking about the film as a prequel. I didn't really see that, but if it is the case, I really need to watch The Life Aquatic again. I also noticed Ridley Scott produced and possibly co-directed. Wow! He directed one of my all time favorites, G.I. Jane!
All in all, I highly recommend Moonrise Kingdom, but prepare yourselves Andersonites, this kingdom…is on the moon!
*Hipster tip of the day: If history teaches us anything, it's that Anderson's films have a way of predicting future trends. Silver Lake residents, I'd buy your spandex space suits and hologram diaries ASAP.