The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 94 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Written by: Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 16, 2012
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom follows two 12-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore – and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in every which way.
Wes Anderson films can be an acquired taste. For me they have been sort of hit and miss, but probably more hit than miss. I didn’t care for “The life aquatic with Steve Zissou” or “The Darjeeling Limited” but like “The fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Rushmore”. Like him or not there is no denying that he is a visionary storyteller with a flair for un-convention. Other than seeing the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom I heard nothing nor thought about it until it arrived at my doorstep a few days ago.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Typical of Anderson’s visual and narrative style the story is simple yet complex in tone with genuine feeling characters that perfectly support its whimsical elements. Suzy and Sam are troubled 12 year olds drawn to one another by commonality. Both have a penchant for candor that is underscored by their eccentricities and unfailing sense of purpose. Each character is played to perfection by newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman. The opening is great and provides a quick but solid foundation upon which the rest of the film rests. While the primary focus is on Suzy and Sam there are little diversions, one involving an elicit affair, another about familial strife, empathy and bullying, that tie in quite nicely. The film is set in 1965 and has a warmly nostalgic essence that mates perfectly with the storyline.
As I watched I found myself sometimes chuckling aloud, raising my eyebrows or simultaneously doing both. There is an involving quirkiness that enriches the proceedings as everyone comes unhinged at the prospect of the two twelve year olds, living on an island, striking out on their own. Of course in stark contrast the two of them are emotionally grounded and seem totally prepared for whatever comes their way. What does set them off is the prospect of being separated and their budding/youthful romance has a heartwarming innocent that makes you root for them despite the obvious obstacles. The cast, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban and the group of boys that play the scouts are terrific.
Moonrise Kingdom clearly isn’t a literal film. It’s artful (without being pretentious), adventurous and charming with a purposefully elevated level of deadpan humor that while in your face never seems overplayed. At ninety four minutes its pacing is right on the money. As soon as it was over I felt like I wanted to start it back from the beginning and watch it again. I guess that is probably endorsement enough…
The rating is for sexual content and smoking.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Moonrise Kingdom comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
This is a pleasing and faithful high definition presentation that is adorned by a permeating sepia toned aesthetic that combines with its use of autumn colors, mainly browns, beiges, and reds, to set the thematic tone intended by Wes Anderson and cinematographer Robert Yeoman. Shot on 16mm film stock it rarely makes for eye catching imagery but if you’re accustomed to Wes Anderson’s style the results are satisfying. Fleshtones tend to look a little pasty but otherwise fall in line with the film’s visual elements. Contrast is spot on and blacks are fairly delineated and deep. Images are resolute with a pervasively grainy aesthetic that adds texture without compromise. The video is whistle clean and shows no obvious signs of compression errors or video related anomalies.
The front heavy lossless surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices were rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for surround activity and extended dynamics however there are a few instances that provide a discernable level of spatial envelopment accompanied be punchy low frequency enhancement.
- (HD) A look inside Moonrise Kingdom – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Welcome to the Island of New Penzance – Four short segments featuring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Wes Anderson
- (HD) Set tour with Bill Murray – 3 minutes
- My Scenes bookmark feature
- Bonus DVD of Moonrise Kingdom
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Director/co-writer Wes Anderson paints an unconventional and rewardingly quirky portrait of young love in this charming, funny and whimsical comedy/romance. Newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman are terrific as the devoted young lovers and are favorably supported by an excellent cast headed by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring satisfying and faithful high definition video, crystal clear DTS-HD Master Audio sound and a sparse supplemental offering that provides only a glimpse behind the scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom and highly recommend that you check it out on Blu-ray.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package