Moonrise Kingdom on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is a film I wanted to see because I really enjoyed The Darjeeling Limited and I loved The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

And a film with Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Harvey Keitel? What’s not to like?

Now I’ve yet to see Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums (and Fantastic Mr Fox just wasn’t my sort of thing) so I’m not fully up to date on the works of Wes Anderson, but I’ve seen enough to think that I know what I like, and I like his style.

What confused me initially with this latest venture, though, is that instead of filming it in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Panavision, it’s shot in Super 16 and framed at 1.85:1. Apparently he does this now and again, although the frame sometimes has a concave look to it anyway, so it retains some of what I’m used to. That said, when I originally saw clips on TV I thought it was a cropped version of a 2.35:1 image and was looking forward to more. I was soon to be disappointed.

The premise is simple. At Khaki Scout Camp Ivanhoe on an island off the coast of New England, Sam Shakursky (Jared Gilman) has escaped, tunnelling out of his thin-material tent like something from The Shawshank Redemption on a quest to be with the love of his life, Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward). You know they’re in love because they’re 12 years old and haven’t got any real worries.

Dealing with this are Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton), and from the police, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), Suzy’s parents – Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) who have marriage issues – with support from Tilda Swinton (Social Services), Harvey Keitel (Commander Pierce), Jason Schwartzman (Cousin Ben) and Bob Balaban as the Narrator, and as the latter tells us, a storm is coming, three days from now, on September 5th, so they’d best find them before them.

And… er… that’s it. Everyone overacts – some shout some whisper. No-one feels like they’re really putting in any effort other than when it comes to picture composition and the story is a non-story. Tedious is the only way I can describe it.

Moonrise Kingdom has a number of Wes Anderson’s trademarks, such as fixing the camera facing forwards and rolling it from one side to the other, as if filming a play, as well as rotating it ninety degrees to another point. However, it all falls flat and makes you feel like you’re sleepwalking through treacle. Listening to the kids talk in their stilted fashion is like listening to two characters communicate in Joe Friday-like syllables. It really is the unexpected misfire of the year.

The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and doesn’t have any issues with picture quality. I’ve discussed the framking at length elsewhere. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen with a Samsung BDP1500 player.

The sound comes in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio and, listening in DTS 5.1, it’s mainly a film with ambient noise and little else. Some classical music included which sounds perfectly fine.

The extras are as follows:

  • A look inside Moonrise Kingdom (3:07): A very brief on-set featurette that’s too short to go into any major detail. It’s more a puff piece.

  • Welcome to the Island of New Penzance (6:11): Snippets of on-set footage in four segments, narrated by
    Bob Balaban in a tongue-in-cheek style, looking at the work of Messrs Murray, Willis, Norton and Anderson.

  • Set Tour with Bill Murray (3:09): Bill talks more about the other actors in the film than the set. And it’s just a shame there’s so little to these extras.

  • Audio descriptive track: Does what it says on the tin.

The main menu features background ambience from a number of location in the film, and is nice to leave in the background, but why do Universal insist on, after a few minutes, making it default to their big logo? Just leave it as it is! Same when I pause it and, normally, my Samsung Blu-ray player floats about the screen. I’m usually trying to sleep, so please give us a break. It’s WAY too bright!

There are subtitles in English for hearing impaired, Brazillian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish and there are 20 chapters to the film which is okay for its short length.

Moonrise Kingdom is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 94 minutes
Year: 2012
Cat no: 8290348
Released: October 1st 2012
Chapters: 20
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0
Languages: English, Brazillian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish
Subtitles: English for hearing impaired, Brazillian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish
Widescreen: 1.85:1
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Wes Anderson
Producers: Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven M. Rales and Scott Rudin
Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Music: Alexandre Desplat

Sam Shakursky: Jared Gilman
Suzy Bishop: Kara Hayward
Captain Sharp: Bruce Willis
Scout Master Ward: Edward Norton
Social Services: Tilda Swinton
Walt Bishop: Bill Murray
Laura Bishop: Frances McDormand
Cousin Ben: Jason Schwartzman
Commander Pierce: Harvey Keitel
Narrator: Bob Balaban
Mr. Billingsley: Larry Pine