The Darjeeling Limited, I wrote, "Maybe he needs to adapt someone else's work. This is the third straight movie about the same thing. How about a genre piece in the way that the Coen Bros. do it. A Wes Anderson crime flick filtered through Godard's Breathless anyone?" I'm going to reiterate that statement after seeing Anderson's latest. Or how about a Wes Anderson Western?
And I'd like to add that he needs to either make sure he's adapting an existing piece of work like he did so brilliantly with Fantastic Mr. Fox or get back to writing with Owen Wilson again - or as Matt calls him - Anderson's secret weapon.
Don't get me wrong. I liked this movie. I liked it more than Darjeeling or The Life Aquatic but it was a bit of a letdown after Fantastic Mr. Fox. It looked great, the soundtrack was good as usual, and all the usual set intricate set pieces were stellar as always. But I was never really invested in what happened plot wise. Normally that isn't a problem for me - I long have been a tone/theme kind of guy rather than just needing a plot. But everything seemed so inconsequential. Anderson is so into the world he creates that it feels like he just doesn't know how to write a fully realized script.
But whatever. Anderson's movies are all good to one degree or another. If I was hoping for an A+ like I always am with his films, I'm definitely content getting a B+. And I wouldn't be surprised if I saw it again, I'd rank it even higher than a B+.
A couple of other thoughts:
- The kids were great. I loved all the little touches like the things they brought with them, the first two meetings, the dancing on the beach ... It reminded me of being 12-years-old and having crushes on girls. I would have killed to have the relationship this kid had in this movie. It reminded me of why I loved Bridge to Terabithia (the non sad parts) as a kid.
- I listened to a good interview with Anderson with Elvis Mitchell a few days ago. Anderson spoke about being heavily influenced by Truffaut's Small Change in the making of this. I can see that. I wish he had been willing to go more with that though. I haven't seen that film in years but I do remember that were very few adults in it. Yes, Ed Norton was fun, Bruce Willis looked funny, and Tilda Swinton was good. And yeah, McDormand and Murray were great too. But the adults in this film were much less interesting to me than a stop motion animation fox. Anderson also mentioned being influenced by Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch. I'd like to see him go even further with that sort of influence. So never mind the Western idea - keep that for Tarantino and the Coen Bros. How about a Sullivan's Travels type Wes Anderson film?
Directed by Wes Anderson