Thursday, June 6, 2013

I Dream in Color: My Visual Reviews of Wes Anderson


So yes, I'm making this an official series here at A Fistful of Films.  I enjoy doing this a lot, and it forces me to see the collected works of many of today's auteurs, so why not indulge?  So far I've reviewed 'visually' the entire filmographies of Paul Thomas Anderson, Darren Aronofsky and David Fincher.  Next up, Wes Anderson.  The great thing about these directors is that they certainly have a very unique and identifiable visual style.  You can pinpoint their films without seeing their names attached, and so they have built (over the years) a real fan base because of their rich individuality.  I love directors like this, that understand who they are, and while they may not always deliver (in all four cases I have some low rated films) they are always true to themselves.

Continuing this trend, let's consider the 'other' Anderson (and they couldn't be more different).

Wes Anderson is an acquired taste.  His aesthetic is very uniquely tuned into who he is as an artist that if you aren’t dialed into his brand of humor his films will be lost on you entirely.  I have to admit, I am not a fan of all of his work, but when he hits a home run it is a real, tried and true masterpiece, and I must say that I have found his latest two offerings to be undeniable cinematic treasures.

So, here we go:


Bottle Rocket (1996) ****/*****
Intricate...
Surprisingly layered...
A tad scattered...
Visually sputters...
Bigger than it seems...

Rushmore (1998) ***/*****
Overly confident...
Distracted...
Tonally unsure...
Unfocused...
In the end, it just tries too hard...
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) *****/*****
Uniformly consistent...
Refreshingly 'on the nose'...
Thought provoking and sharply written...
Clever...
Quite the wild ride!

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) ****/*****
Confident...
Cheeky...
Reflective...
Colorful...
Proud...

The Darjeerling Limited (2007) **/*****
Missed opportunity...
Cluttered, with what, I'm not sure...
It's searching for something...
Slightly tacky...
The touch of tender is somewhat lost...

The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) *****/*****
Such a relaxed and comfortable pace...
Larger than life!
Hypnotic and alluring... 
Not just for the kids...
Perfect dash of whimsy!

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) *****/*****

A notch WAY above the rest...

Beautifully childish and innocent...
Knows exactly what it is trying to convey, and conveys it!
Deceptively blunt...
Intimidating to those not in touch with their inner child...

10 comments:

  1. I really enjoy these posts! I love how Wes Anderson shoots his films, with the shots going room to room like everything is connected and not cutting away. It's nice to look at.

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    1. His films are certainly visually stunning. Even 'Bottle Rocket', which lacked the glossy finish that Anderson brought to his later films, has this languid way of telling the story...everything just floating into the next thing.

      Thanks for the comment Brittani! I'm glad you enjoy these. There will be more to come!

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  2. Yay! Glad you're making this an official series.

    I love the few Anderson films I've seen. It's interesting how you rank them, as The Darjeeling Limited is probably my favorite or second favorite (behind Moonrise Kingdom). I still need to see Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and Life Aquatic, and I really need to rewatch The Royal Tenenbaums, as I haven't seen it in probably a decade.

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    1. Moonrise is just untouchable for me for so many reasons...I hope his next film (WHAT A CAST!!!!) is as good!

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  3. Nice visual review! I like most of his work, but my favorite so far is The Royal Tenenbaums. Looking forward for his next project!

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    1. I also cannot wait until his next film. The cast is impressive, and so next year could not come soon enough :-D

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  4. Great post! Though, we might need to throw down on Rushmore. I saw it the first time as a teenager, and it has never left me. It is one of the first truly perfect movies of my life. Perfect, I tell you. It does try hard. And that is why it's so great! Now, Moonrise Kingdom, we fully agree on. That movie is pure love. And I love your last comment there, "Intimidating to those not in touch with their inner child." So true.

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    1. I will admit this...I need to rewatch Rushmore. It's been YEARS since I've seen it, and my taste in film has changed since then, so I could very well adore it now.

      Moonrise...just...UGH!

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  5. By the way, I like The Darjeeling Limited way more than you as well. His weakest for me after Bottle Rocket is The Life Aquatic, and I love that one. Wes has trouble doing wrong for me.

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    1. I admire Wes for his true auteur fashions...like...he is his own director, but like the other Anderson...he's hit and miss for me. When I love him...I LOVE HIM...but then there are times when I just don't.

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