Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom starts out as all of Wes Anderson's films - knocking you off guard - slapping one in the face really - with the weirdness. And though the sets are weird, the characters are weird, and the story is weird, one gets the feeling that everything is real. Maybe that is because as we walk around our lives in a "rat race" induced stupor, we fail to see how odd the world really is.

Generally a film must get my attention and keep it for me to keep going. Especially if I am watching it from the cesspool of noise, running commentary, smart phone flashligts, and small bladders of the modern movie theater. Let me digress for just a moment and describe the theaters I frequented as a child - quiet, clean, classical music playing over the speakers, no commercials on the screen. All the early-comers brought books to read until the trailers started playing and then silence. It was easy to get caught up in a film from the opening credits. Nowdays, movie goers see the trailers on the internet and have their own movie players built into their phones. Everyone but a few like us, show up as the trailers are ending and begin searching for seats in the now darkened theater. Theater going, in these modern times, is not my favorite way to view.

Nevertheless, I had my doubts when the trailers finally ended and Anderson introduced us into this wacky world - all of it wacky from the opening credits through the end credits - that he would be able to keep my attention. It seemed like it was going to be difficult amid the noise to follow the important bits I would need to know for the story to make sense. Would I, once again, be reduced to napping or staring at the exit signs to get through a movie I had lost track of. I should not have worried. Moonrise Kingdom is a throwback, a period piece like no other I have seen. America 1965 and despite the anachronism of the 1968 Plymouth Station Wagon, true to the times from what little I actually remember growing up in the early 70s. I found myself absorbed.

But once the quirkiness induced giggles subsided and the audience realized that what we were watching was a very serious movie as far as its message is concerned. No spoilers here. The adventure, the story, the characters, highly developed in such a short time all sucked me in and wouldn't let me go. For the first time in a long time, I was able to forget about everyone else in the theater. Well except for this.

I had forgotten that helpless feeling one gets when one meets someone and something happens. You don't know what to do, you just know you have to do something. Standing still hurts, running away sounds easy, being left alone with that someone makes its way into being the most important thing you can do. It can make you walk through a cemetary on a dark dark night, it can make you take that extra trip to Dairy Queen for a chili dog and a pineapple shake. It can make you open your window to let her crawl in, all against the rules, so she can watch a movie with you.

The most intriguing aspect of Moonrise Kingdom, for me, was how it vividly reminded me of how, when, and where I first fell in love with my wife. Perhaps she experienced the same response. On the way out of the theater, she looked at me and said..."I want a chili dog".

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