A few days removed from seeing Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and the Cannes brouhaha that came with its opening night premiere last week, I have to say, I’m looking forward to seeing it again. It’s just so charming in all the ways Anderson’s previous films are meant to be, but, for me, aren’t quite.
“The Royal Tenenbaums” is so far his most successful film financially and critically, but after giving it another look recently, I found I liked it even less than I did back in 2001 (which already wasn’t much). I’d put “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” on that lower tier as well. Both films are just overwhelmingly affected and don’t strike the balance his better works do.
I’m mostly okay with “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The Darjeeling Limited.” The former is a fun romp and the latter has a lot of soul. But “Rushmore” and “Bottle Rocket” have always been tops for me, because the emotion just feels much more authentic. “Moonrise Kingdom” can count itself in that territory, I feel.
One of the stars of Anderson’s latest, Bill Murray, is no stranger to the director, having collaborated with him on all but one of his films. And in “Moonrise Kingdom,” he plays on the fringe with just the right accent, while Bruce Willis and, most especially, child stars Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, get the more substantial performance showcases.
With that in mind, Focus Features has released a nifty little featurette with Murray giving a tour of the film throughout a few of its various sets. It’s a great opportunity for some wry Murray humor. “I play a man in the film,” he says simply, before quipping that he still hasn’t seen “Bottle Rocket” (the one Anderson film that didn’t feature the actor).
In introducing some of the other actors featured in the film, Murray offers: “Edward Norton, he does a lot of psycho work. He’s playing against type. Bruce Willis, playing a policeman. Type cast, I guess. Tilda Swinton’s in this one, too. She’s tall. She’s Scottish. She’s pretty. She can do whatever she wants.”
What the three-minute clip is really great for, however, is showcasing Adam Stockhausen’s production design, which is some of the best seen on an Anderson film yet (and was also noted in Guy’s less enthusiastic review). There will be a lot of period pieces in play this year, so contemporary design will, as ever, have a tough time making a go of it. But I truly think Stockhausen’s work and Kasia Walicka-Maimone’s costumes deserve some serious consideration. The latter in particular does a great job of reflecting the characters visually.
And Murray himself might even pop up in the Focus awards mix, though not for this film. He’s playing FDR in Roger Michell’s “Hyde Park on Hudson,” which debuted a trailer last week.
Have a look at the Murray-guided tour below. “Moonrise Kingdom” opens this Friday, May 25.