After “Rushmore” came out in 1998 earning critical acclaim, friends/business partners Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson penned a script together titled, “The Royal Tenenbaums.” The Premise focuses on the patriarch pretending he’s dying in order to reconnect with his estranged gifted kids and ex-wife Released in 2001. (same year Ocean’s 11 came out) It received praise from critics and movie goers alike. The Royal Tenenbaums earned an Oscar nomination for “Best Original Screenplay.” Afterwards, the film gained a cult following inspiring the sitcom, “Arrested Development” featuring a quirky family. The Criterion Collection included the film on DVD/Blu-Ray as spine number 157.
Wes’ next projects are “Asteroid City” and “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” Before they come out sometime in 2023, I wanna share my thoughts on The Royal Tenenbaums if it still holds up. By the way, Owen Wilson will reprise his role as Mobius in Loki’s second season.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Royal & Lowly Qualities
Royal: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston & Gene Hackman all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Wes Anderson did a great job directing. He also co-wrote the script with Owen.
Mark Mothersbaugh (The Lego Movie, Jak and Daxter video games, Thor: Ragnarok) orchestrated the soundtrack.
Chemistry between the family members and friends serves as the main highlight. Their interactions move the story forward.
Alec Baldwin provides narration. Except, he doesn’t say “Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle” from “Thomas and the Magic Railroad” or calling his daughter, Ireland a “thoughtless little pig.” Alec stated his role as Jack Donaghy in “30 Rock” is based on Gene’s performance as Royal Tenenbaum.
Humor contains quirky personalities of each character and witty dialogue.
The Tone balances between seriousness and comedy.
The Story is told in chapters like a novel.
Cinematography captures Wes’ symmetrical use of characters standing next to each other. Medium Close-Ups with a character looking towards the camera.
Wes mentioned the Tenenbaum home is inspired by Orson Welles’ “The Magnificent Ambersons.” Which mostly takes place in a home filled with family members.
Wes often uses The Rolling Stones’ tunes. “She Smiled Sweetly” and “Ruby Tuesday” are used in two significant scenes. Wes is probably a huge fan of the rock band.
A hawk’s named, Mordecai. In 2010, a blue bird with the same name made his debut on Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show.” J.G. Quintel’s a huge fan of Wes’ work.
Primary Themes are Fatherhood, Depression, Family, Nostalgia, Forgiveness & Redemption. For a comedy-drama, each one is handled carefully.
Lowly: I know Margot’s adopted and not blood related, but I find it repugnant for her to fall in love with Richie. Gonna have to Double Down this unnecessary gross subplot. I do not condone incest.
The Final Verdict: B, FOR BELIEVABLE!
The Royal Tenenbaums still holds up. If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson’s work or a Criterion enthusiast, add this to your collection. Don’t forget Wes’ other gems like Rushmore, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and The Grand Budapest Hotel.”