Wes Anderson completely immersed the viewers into a whole new world where the colors are the narrators of the film. They do not speak yet they are eloquent in letting viewers know the mood in every scene and the nature of the characters in the film.
Yellow and Blue: The Mood Drivers of the Film
Muted yellow is the dominant color in the film, yet it speaks loudly to indicate warmth and security. It is the color of young love between Sam and Suzy, and it is the color of the tent where they felt truly loved and comforted. Both of them have family problems so they seek for a “real home” and they found it in each other.
Extremely dark hues were rarely used in the film. It only used high blue contrast once to indicate danger, specifically, in the bell tower scene where Sam and Suzy almost attempted suicide in a middle of a raging thunderstorm.
It is also interesting how Anderson chooses two primary colors in trying to articulate the nature of the characters in the film. Yellow and blue represent the good and bad. The scouts wear yellow bandanas around their necks while the main antagonist, Social Services, wears a solid blue coat. The creative decision to assign yellow to good-natured characters, and blue to bad ones is ingenious because it is consistent to how some of us perceive some colors. It is widely known that the color blue is associated with calm and peace, but it can also send a message of lack of emotion or coldness. Anderson capitalizes on the idea that too much blue could evoke unfriendliness.
On the other hand, yellow is associated with positivity mainly because researchers claim that it causes the brain to release serotonin, which affects our mood positively. Too much yellow can cause eye fatigue so Anderson’s decision to use muted yellow or mustard benefits the film. He is a director who knows how to use colors to his advantage and how to lead the viewers’ eyes and influence their moods.
The Colors of my Childhood
I love how the colors of the film trigger memories the same way a scent does. The streaks of yellow in the film helped me recall the days when I wanted to run away from home. I used to prepare a small yellow backpack where I kept biscuits, water bottle, flashlight, and fake Barbie phone in case I wanted to escape but I never did because I was too scared I won’t find my way back home. On the other hand, blue reminds me of nights when I was waiting for my mom to come home and of late nights when cartoon channels have nothing fun to offer. Blue reminds me of asthma attacks, trips to the doctor and needles.
It is undeniable that colors have the power to affect our mood and Anderson knows that. I personally associate yellow with happy memories and blue with my scary childhood memories –making the movie more potent in evoking nostalgia.
In its core, Moonrise Kingdom is about how children see the world –simple and complex, hopeful and helpless, yellow and blue, and no gray areas. It is feeling everything but with no exact words to really describe it. As Sam, the main character, perfectly put it, “I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The Nostalgic Color Palette Inspired by Moonrise Kingdom
Set in the 60s, the homes in Moonrise Kingdom do not shy away from using warm colors like yellow, red, or orange. It is as if the director hates white or gray walls.
It is important to choose a dominant color for your room then add some vintage pieces like binoculars, record players, and film camera, for a nostalgic color palette, similar to the Moonrise Kingdom vibe.
In choosing the color you would paint your walls, how good it looks is not just the main consideration, you also have to consider the emotions or memories you associate with certain colors. I love yellow but not everyone has a happy childhood memory associated with it. It all comes down to personal preference when it comes to choosing color paints.