K.H.: Wes Anderson’s movies have always been about lost children, but this time the children are actual kids—a Khaki Scout and his townie girlfriend on a New England island in 1965—instead of Owen Wilson in India with a mysteriously bandaged head. Anderson is great with serious kids and the feckless grown-ups who let them down, though in this case you can’t help feeling a little bad for the adults, living under such youthful tyranny. Is there anyone more rigid than a 12-year-old in love? As in every Anderson flick, the rooms people live in, the clothes they wear, and the totems they cart around with them are fabulous and precious—a cinematic language all their own—and everyone is either manic, or world-weary, or both. I hate to fault a director for continuing to make his particular kind of movie (that’s what directors do), but I guess I’d like to see a little more tonal innovation from Wes. Even with Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton giving their all, the charm of objects and music and deadpan wears thin.
M.K.: Ever since Tenenbaums, at least, I think the hierarchy goes like this:
Wes Anderson Adults < Wes Anderson Children < Wes Anderson Animated Foxes.