Over the years, I have become captivated by the films of Wes Anderson. Even though his recent movie Isle of Dogs (2018) is not my favorite, I view Anderson as someone who makes movies that grab his viewers’ attention through his creative sense of mind. He has many trademarks that speak to his audience (including me). What has spoken to me most about his movies is how he creates lengthy introductions of each character who all have a meaningful connection to the center of the problem in the film. He also ensures that his characters have quirky trademarks that are memorable for his viewers.
When it comes to Anderson, one of my favorite films where he utilizes his unique structure and setup in an enthralling format is The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). The film’s setup is a family of geniuses that are dysfunctional. The film stars Gene Hackman (as Royal Tenenbaum), Gwyneth Paltrow (as Margot Tenenbaum), Anjelica Huston (as Etheline Tenenbaum), Ben Stiller (as Chas Tenenbaum), and Luke Wilson (as Richie Tenenbaum). The characters live under the same roof, but the father does not live with them until he returns because of his terminal health issues. He has a case of cancer and hopes he can make things with his family right again. Throughout the movie, Anderson displays important facts and habits of his characters in brief descriptions. When he does that, viewers start to develop an understanding of why there is tension between everyone in the movie. That is, in fact, what makes The Royal Tenenbaums so brilliant. It incorporates internal feelings and builds curiosity as to what the outcome of the movie may be. While the storyline features various problems, the film’s screenplay and acting give viewers hope for an attention-grabbing ending.
In terms of being inconspicuous, but also creative, organized, and filled with intriguing scenery, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) is also a piece of art by Anderson that I purely enjoy. In my younger days and not knowing much about Anderson, I found myself bored with this one. However, once I became quite engrossed with Moonrise Kingdom (2012), that is when I began to really grow into a huge fan of Anderson. Even though his setup seemed slow and quiet, I found those elements to be why Moonrise Kingdom was my favorite movie of all time. Then I thought back to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and re-watched the film and loved it. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou involves a bizarre plot about an oceanographer who loses a friend due to a shark attack, and he wants revenge to find the shark and kill it. The oceanographer gathers up an odd group of people for assistance. They include his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who claims to be his son. The film stars Bill Murray (as Steve Zissou), Anjelica Huston (as Eleanor Zissou), Owen Wilson (as Ned Pimpton), Cate Blanchett (as Jane Winslett-Richardson), and many other great characters in supporting roles, but are still important to the film’s central focus and conflict. What I love most about The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is that it is a film where there is one goal, but with the people associated, it opens many doors to negative yet also satirical situations.
Currently, Wes Anderson is on his way to make another movie titled The French Dispatch which is set to open in 2020. Based on some the facts and back stories, this one looks to be better than Isle of Dogs. I did not completely dislike Isle of Dogs as it was captivating in some moments. However, it was somewhat confusing, given the film was animated and its central point was dogs. Personally, I could not understand which dog played the most important role because the graphics and colors were all quite similar. In this movie, I believe Anderson went above and beyond with art and creativity, but the graphics were such that it made it hard time to enjoy. With the French Dispatch coming out soon, I believe this will be a better film due to it being set during World War II. My respect has grown for Anderson over the years due to how he uses real-life historical events and blends them with creativity of his own.
I decided to write this article because I was thinking of who I admire in terms of filmmaking. While I have many favorite directors, Wes Anderson is near the top of the list. That is in part because whenever I read trivia about him or his movies, he is always trying to be sure that his films have meaning. He focuses on key aspects of his films to make sure they are significant to his audience. The written introductions and organizational setups in his films set them apart. When I attended Cannes back in 2016, I attended a roundtable discussion with Willem Dafoe and asked about his work with Anderson. He described the visionary development process Anderson used on the films Dafoe has worked with him on. Dafoe told me that Anderson would set up figurines and do all kinds of drawings before filming even started in order to think the story through. Given this information, I view Anderson as an inventor of components that grow to have personification for the plots and characters in the films he directs and writes. Anderson is the true auteur of brilliance who pursues his passion so that his films truly speak to the audience.