Moonrise Kingdom (Blu-ray) (2012)
Featurette-Set Tour with Bill Murray(3.09)
Featurette-A Look inside Moonrise Kingdom (3.07)
Featurette-Welcome to the Island of New Penzance (6.10)
|Year Of Production||2012|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Wes Anderson|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD High Resolution Audio 5.1
Spanish dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Portuguese dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Thank God for Wes Anderson!
Though he has his detractors, there is no doubt that the quirky American director brings fresh air to the cinema every time he premieres a new release. Many people, like me, will have got onto the Anderson bandwagon with the release of Rushmore, a comedy about a a precocious teen and his complex relationship with the love of his life and his competitor for her affections. Of course, the love of his life was his teacher and rival Bill Murray another teacher, so that was never going to be a situation that would pan out particularly well. In one of the short extras that accompanies this Blu-ray release Bill Murray points out that he has been in almost all of Anderson's films, with the exception of Bottle Rocket, which he hasn't got around to seeing. Put me in that club too!
Moonrise Kingdom is the latest wonderful cinematic toy box from Anderson. It combines his love of damaged but interesting characters and is shot through with nostalgia. It could also be the Anderson film that brings back a more mainstream audience, the audience who loved The Royal Tennenbaums, who slipped off the radar a bit with the obtuse oddity of The Life Aquatic and slightly less enjoyable The Darjeeling Limited. It is a film that combines ample amounts of humour with an undercurrent of genuine drama.
Moonrise Kingdom is set on the fictional island of New Penzance which sits off the coast of New England. It is 1964. As narrator Bob Balaban tells us, in a few days the island will be hit with a huge storm.
The inhabitants of the island are the usual Wes Anderson group of kooks. Suzy Bishop ( newcomer Kara Hayward) lives on one end of the island with her lawyer parents Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) and her younger brothers. A year ago, whilst taking part in a church performance of Noye's Fludde she locks eyes with 12-year-old Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and the two become penpals. Sam is an orphan and lives on the mainland with his foster parents. Each year, during the summer break, he comes to New Penzance with the "khaki scout" group led by the Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton). The scoutmaster has a small group of boys at camp Ivanhoe with the main group of boys at another part of the island.
When Scout Master Ward discovers that Sam has resigned from the scouts and slipped away from summer camp he is understandably concerned. Sam is, by a long shot, the least popular member of the scout group and the boys are initially unwilling to even look for the missing lad. The scoutmaster enlists the help of the police captain on the island (Bruce Willis) to help find Sam. They make contact with the mainland and speak to Sam's foster parents who regret to say that they don't want him back. This involves Social Services, an imperious Tilda Swinton. She is coming to the island, reminiscent of High Noon, to collect the boy and put him in a reform home.
Sam isn't just missing. He and Suzy have formed a plan to escape together and find a new life. As it turns out Sam is not so bad at his bush survival skills and the pair enjoy special moments of freedom. Of course, everything has to come to an end. In a wildly funny conclusion Anderson brings together all the cast and a terrific storm.
The film has been nominated for a single Oscar for best screenplay - a collaboration between Roman Coppola and Wes Anderson. That is no surprise for the screenplay, with its quirkily funny dialogue and deadpan jokes is engaging throughout. The two young leads are a joy to watch and the supporting cast, including a surprise or two, seem to be having a great time in their roles. As usual Anderson goes to a great deal of trouble to create special world including having artists create numerous book covers for Suzy to read aloud whilst they are on the lam.
Moonrise Kingdom represents the best of Wes Anderson and is a film that can be enjoyed by all ages. The younger set will enjoy the basic story of first love and the oldies won't be able to resist being drawn back into the nostalgia of their own you.
Moonrise Kingdom comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 transfer which is consistent with the original cinema aspect ratio.
It was shot on Super 16 mm film and was blown up to 35mm for cinema viewing. Anderson deliberately chose to film in Super 16 mm so as to have a small crew who could work fast but it also conveys the look and feel of a 1960s movie. As a result it is not as sharp as a high definition digital or native 35mm transfer. The film is bathed in colour, primarily yellows, lending additional softness throughout.
That's not to say that it is a bad transfer. It perfectly captures what Anderson wished to achieve. The colours are strong and vibrant and Anderson uses contrasts to great effect throughout.
There is a light grain throughout.
There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired as well as Brazilian, Portuguese and Latin American Spanish.
Moonrise Kingdom has as its prime audio track an engaging DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. There are also DTS Surround 5.1 track's in Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish. Finally, there is a English Dolby Digital 2.0 track featuring descriptive audio.
The dialogue can be heard clearly when the adults are speaking but is a little bit more difficult to discern when the children are talking and arguing.
The surrounds are used to good effect, particularly in the storm scene and the sub woofer responds accordingly in dramatic moments.
Music for the film comes from three sources. Each is distinct and interesting. As a result of memories of his own youth Anderson fills the film with excerpts from the works of Benjamin Britten particularly Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Britten is not exactly a popular composer for screen works and it is interesting to see his music here, which creates quite a strange atmosphere. Secondly, the scout music is by former Devo member and composer Mark Mothersbaugh. Most would know him for the Rugrats theme and his music here doesn't disappoint. Finally, the main score itself is by Alexandre Desplat and combines his usual love of orchestral work.
Although the dialogue is a little muddy at times the remainder the soundtrack is very impressive indeed.
|Surround Channel Use|
Bill takes us on a very brief tour of the set in his own laconic manner explaining some of his favourite scenes.
Again this is a bit of a very brief look which grabs a few comments from the participants.
Bob Balaban acts as our guide to introduce us to a couple of the characters on the island. It is a quirky look but again too short.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This Blu-ray is identical to the Region A release
Moonrise Kingdom is a joy from start to finish. It made a decent amount of money at the box office but perhaps deserved to make more. The Blu-ray perfectly captures the film and whilst it can't be considered reference quality is nevertheless a warm transfer with good surround sound and music. The extras are a disappointment.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|