Boats, weapons, explosions, and an unstoppable force that wreaks havoc on its characters in more ways than one.
Quick, which upcoming film am I describing?
The "If Wes Anderson Directed ..." meme continued this week with a new viral video that imagined Wes Anderson's version of Battleship. It's cute and campy, and not unlike the countless other similar videos we've seen crop up, but in all actuality if you really want to see Wes Anderson's version of Battleship -- or the closest he'll ever come to a summer blockbuster -- then Moonrise Kingdom is it.
Nope, aliens don't attack and the closest you'll come to a Rihanna sighting is Frances McDormand with a bullhorn, but Moonrise Kingdom tells a very different tale of invasion -- one that's both internal and external -- as its characters are at war with their emotions while nature prepares to unleash a fierce punch in the stomach to those who get in its way. With fiery explosions, gunfire and risky rescue operations, Moonrise Kingdom is a different sort of summer blockbuster for people who want more substance and style with their spectacle.
The film is very much about young (and old) love -- about how it manifests itself in different forms, binding us to another person in ways that are explosive, heartbreaking and quite mundane, and how our emotions are still -- and will always be -- the most alien thing we know. How young love is debilitating and so enormous, separating the mind from thoughts that make any kind of sense. Like a fleet of wicked aliens storming the planet with destructive precision, we never realize the full power of love until it's taken our hearts hostage to the point that we're breaking laws and pissing off those who raised us to be better than that.
Like Battleship, Moonrise Kingdom also introduces us to an ensemble cast made up of new and old faces, with its veterans (Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman) often sacrificing their own character's growth so that the audience can invest more in the film's plethora of unfamiliar, up-and-coming faces, most of whom make up the most idiocentric troop of boyscouts ever put on film. Watching them hunt down a pair of young lovers who've run off into the wilderness is some of the most fun you'll have at the movies all year.
Both summer movies are also set in these sort of alternate versions of reality that feel familiar, sure, but are still alien to us because we've never been attacked by a group of beings from another planet (Battleship) and we've never seen someone stand up, dust themselves off and briskly run away after being struck by lightning (Moonrise Kingdom).
And yet, we can relate. We can relate to taking risks and trusting our gut; to being presented with situations that are much larger than us, but knowing there are people by our side who will do right by us no matter what the outcome may hold. We can relate to monstrous special effects and all-too-familiar filmmaking styles because that's part of the reason why we love going to movies in the summertime. We go because we want to relate, but we also want the unexpected.
Battleship and Moonrise Kingdom will give you a little of both. That's not to say you'll love either of 'em, but you don't have to. If Moonrise Kingdom taught us anything, it's that sometimes you don't have to love, you just have to accept and keep moving to the next adventure.
For a more detailed look at Moonrise Kingdom, check out our roundup of reviews. Battleship arrives in theaters this weekend, while Moonrise Kingdom will go into limited release on May 25th.
Follow along on Twitter @ErikDavis and @Moviesdotcom.