All the same preoccupations and stylistic flourishes are present though, from that one moment of expertly timed slow-mo to the tale of a dysfunctional family, populated by wounded and disappointed people struggling to connect. At times the young runaways - Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) - and their armed boy scout pursuers could be mistaken for members of the Max Fischer Players, mounting an ambitious production of 'The African Queen' by way of Lord of the Flies, as the film riffs on a 12 year-old version of pampered rich girl meets man of the earth on romantic wilderness adventure. Like all of Anderson's films to date it's earnestly kind without ever coming close to twee, and nostalgic without seeming kitsch or staid. There are moments of heart-breaking melancholy and times where the humour verges on black, but it's primarily an innocent and joyful experience.
Though I personally loved 'The Life Aquatic' and 'Darjeeling Limited', those films seemed to represent Anderson's movies becoming bigger and, to some extent, less tightly focused. The star-studded ensemble is no less eclectic here but 'Moonrise Kindom' instead feels stripped back somewhere closer to the simplicity and economy of 'Rushmore'. It's a change that's kept the director's formula from wearing thin, coming at the right moment. It's a film that makes Wes Anderson exciting again, as opposed to the master of an increasingly predictable framework (however lovely). I used to say that 'Bottle Rocket' was my favourite but conceded that 'The Royal Tenenbaums' was Anderson's most mature and accomplished film. 'Moonrise Kingdom' calls into question both ends of that statement.
'Moonrise Kingdom' is out now in the UK, rated '12A' by the BBFC.