The Max Fischer Players Present

I (Sort of) Review the the Trailer for Wes Anderson’s New Film, Moonrise Kingdom

If you hate Wes Anderson—and hating Wes Anderson seems like a special kind of sport in 2012 (or at least it did after his last two films, The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr. Fox)—the trailer for his new film Moonrise Kingdom will surely give you fuel for that fire or arrows for your quiver or whatever you need for your particular metaphor.

I like Wes Anderson’s films: I like the strange blend of earnestness and irony, the precociousness and preciousness, the calculated soundtracks, the fussy set and costume design and faux-’70s color schemes; I like the crumbling families, the failed and failing geniuses, the narcissists and the hacks; I like the fantasy of it all. I like the sentimentality of it all. I like the tents and special societies and secret compartments and fake books. I like the depression behind the charm.

I especially like Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, which I think are the films that best navigate that special space between fantasy and reality (and theatricality) that is Andersonville. My least favorite film of his is his first, Bottle Rocket—too realistic (what a strange claim!), too naturalistic, not mannered or fussy enough.

I more or less understand why so many people hate Anderson’s fantasies, although I think it’s weak criticism to dismiss them as empty exercises in style without substance; still, watching the new trailer, I can see why anyone with a quarrel with Wes Anderson will positively hate this Wes Anderson movie before it’s even come out.

Here is that trailer:


We’ve got a charismatic young man in the Max Fischer mold.

We’ve got a never-was early 1960s (?) sleep-away-camp (?)

We’ve got Edward Norton in a scouting uniform (in shorts!) saying: “Jiminy Cricket, he flew the coop!” (this is like +100 flaming arrows in the quivers of Anderson-haters, I imagine; it made me cringe my own self).

We have a portable turntable on a Northeastern beach.

We have the kind of tracking close up shots that went out of fashion, what, thirty years ago now?


A 1960s French pop song.

A play.

A house in a tree.

Some sailing shots that somehow remind me of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.

Old Bruce Willis.

Frances McDormand.


Well, did you watch the end? Did you see those final moments, the shirtless Bill Murray with the ax propped over one shoulder, bottle of red in the other? Well, that’s why I tend to like these films.