Thursday, October 17, 2013

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" Trailer Debuts with Whimsical Excitement

I know that we still need to get through the 2013 Oscar season, but now would be as good of a time as any to speculate on potential front runners for next year's race. I'm not talking about films that were delayed, such as Foxcatcher or Grace of Monaco, but new releases that have yet to prove their muster. It may not open up until March 7, but the debut trailer for director Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel is looking to continue his hot streak of fun, ambitious cinema.

There is plenty of reason to be excited for a new Anderson movie. With Moonrise Kingdom being my second favorite film of last year and previously Fantastic Mr. Fox being one of the most delightful animated movies in years, he has somehow managed to progress into more accessible manners without sacrificing his artistic merit. It has even earned him some Academy Award nominations. Even if Moonrise Kingdom failed to make Best Picture, it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, which at least showed that the Academy was aware of his gift. The story of young love in the woods ended up becoming his most financially successful film and only leaves more optimism for his next project.

As assumed, anticipations are high for whatever his next project is, and this first trailer just makes me more excited. The cast feels like an odd amalgamation of every previous Anderson film featuring familiar troop members like Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman as well as names from Moonrise Kingdom such as Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, and Tilda Swinton; and The Darjeeling Limited's Adrien Brody. The first time in the Anderson camp are equally enticing and include Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law,  F. Murray Abraham, and Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color). Quite an impressive roster with an equally high number of Oscar nominees and winners. The cast alone makes the film a worthwhile investment.

In fact, the trailer alone is whimsical and fun in all of the right ways, like a live action Fantastic Mr. Fox:

It moves at a brisk pace and the jokes seem to come fast. The only concern is that the movie almost too madcap to be considered for Oscars. Also, the March release date does play as a handicap of sorts. Still, a trailer that promotes the love between a man and his lobby boy is priceless and fun. This looks to be an epic, at least on an Anderson scale. It is beautiful and majestic. 

In fact, the only real complaints that could be given, and it was applied to Moonrise Kingdom, is that this film looks like a Wes Anderson film at its most typical. It almost feels like lifted shots from a storybook in several ways. It can be perceived as twee. However, the real question is on if that should matter if a director's style is distinguished that finely. It should actually be applauded, as I feel that Anderson's craft has become fully realized and while he wasn't ever a bad filmmaker, he has gotten better for sure. 

It is way too early to predict its Oscar chances in full, but with this trailer, it has quickly slid to the top of my most anticipated films for the upcoming year. If it is halfway as good as Moonrise Kingdom, things may be looking great. The all-star cast also feels like there is no room for filler roles. Almost every performance is one that I want to see. Even if Willem Dafoe going from director Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac to this may be a little unnerving, I am sure that it will be a delight, leaving a positive impression. I doubt that Anderson will really achieve the blockbuster status, but to know that he has fine tuned his vision more and more with each film just shows why the Academy needs to give him more recognition.

Is The Grand Budapest Hotel going to win over Academy voters in 2014? Do you think that Wes Anderson's style is brilliant or distracting? How great is the chemistry between the man and his lobby boy in the trailer?

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