The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Panned by critics, this is actually a wonderful, inspiring film. A steampunk version, the foe uses automatons created by a giant engine.

Several moments stand out in this film. The moment Clara realizes the sugar plum fairy is not as sugary sweet as she appears. The moment Clara realizes the only one who can save the four realms is herself. She happens to be staring at a mirror and her mother’s words comes back to her.

The film is a feminist victory. The young girl’s bravery and intelligence save the kingdom which is rarely seen in most films.

Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, and Helen Mirren give great performances here.


Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is a strangely dark, yet funny story set in New Penzance island, a fictional island that Wes Anderson based on his trips to Naushon, off of Cape Cod.

Much of the movie operates as a framed narrative. At the film’s outset we are given a glance of Suzy (Kara Hayward) looking at the world through a pair of binoculars. This scene implies that the movie will be from her point-of-view or that she is a lonely observer.

Though the narrator, another outsider, seems detached from the action in the opening scenes, he later joins the rest of the cast and interacts with the other characters.

The narrator later proves to be of vital importance. He provides key information about the possible whereabouts of middle schoolers, Suzy and Sam, who have run away. 

This is what I like best about Wes Anderson’s films–an outsider whom everyone devalues suddenly rises in importance and surprises everyone.

Of course, Suzy and Sam are also outsiders. Suzy has anger issues and Sam is a bullied orphan.

By the film’s end, though, the two misfits and star-crossed lovers have risen in importance. The whole island is looking for them and the search has caused adult to rethink their behavior.

Anderson claims he was influenced by Alan Parker’s film Melody (aka S.W.A.L.K.) and Ken Loach’s Black Jack

Soucres consulted:

The Wes Anderson Collection, by Matt Zoller Seitz, Anderson