Tea Time

Darjeeling_ltd
If you went to see Danny Boyle’s new sci-fi flick, Sunshine, this weekend you probably saw the trailer to The Darjeeling Limited, the fifth film from Wes Anderson, which is now online.

I am on the fence about Anderson. I loved Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, but he seemed to just repeat himself with The Royal Tennenbaums and The Life Aquatic. And they became increasingly cold, sterile and ironic for me, missing the heart that collaborator Owen Wilson brought to the scripts. (That’s how I perceive it anyway. I know Wilson is credited with co-scripting Tennenbaums, but I’m told he had very little to do with it.) Anderson also seemed more interested in the little details — the clothes, what books were on the shelves — than in the story or characterizations. It’s like the old Starkist Tuna commercials: we don’t want a tuna with good taste, we want tuna that tastes good.*

The Darjeeling trailer is pretty entertaining, and 100% Anderson in style, from the title cards, to the broken family storyline, and the Kinks songs. But you can make any movie look good in a trailer. The screenplay was cowritten by star Jason Schwartzman and his cousin Roman Copolla (whose film CQ is also on the sterile side, though I liked it; he was also Second Unit director on Life Aquatic) so here’s they will bring a little humanity back to Anderson’s world, or at least pull him in a different direction. Also: no Mark Mothersbaugh this time, instead using music from the films of Satyajit Ray (maker of the wonderful Apu trilogy, among other things) and Merchant Ivory — presumably the early films of the latter, the ones set in India like The Guru and Bombay Talkie.

I want to like Anderson’s films again. His recent Amex commercial is genius. Please do something different this time, Wes. Please. Anyway, here it is in Quicktime format, better to enjoy Anderson’s meticulously-designed composition. Gorilla Vs. Bear has the mp3 of the Kinks song, "This Time Tomorrow," used in the trailer.

*Though the slogan really did its job, I never understood why Charlie wanted be a be caught, killed, and processed into a can of Starkist.

4 Comments

  1. While I would say that (much like Woody Allen's movies), even a bad Wes Anderson film is better than most films, I concur that Rushmore & Bottle Rocket far exceeded his latter two films in originality. As far as this latest film is concerned, I'm not an Adrien Brody fan at all, and both Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman are strong enough leading men to carry a picture without the other. From the looks of the trailer, it would seem that these three leads are in every scene. I don't know. Three funny men with no straight man killed 'The Three Amigos' in the 80s, perhaps three straight men and no funny man is the answer.

  2. Perhaps if I'd only seen The Life Aquatic I would have loved it, but Anderson keeps remaking the same movie, right down to the slo-mo last scene set to an oldie-goldie.
    I'm not so worried about the three funny man problem — one, if not all of them, will turn out to be very sad only slightly beneath the surface.
    And one of the Amigos was Chevy Chase, so technically that movie only contained two funny men. Lip balm?

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