Wonderland.

7 Wonders: Wes Anderson

Here are the ultimate Wes Anderson films to watch now that the clocks have gone back.

The clocks have gone back, bitter cold dark nights are here and long gone are those balmy pub-garden evenings. What better then than revisiting Wes Anderson’s colourful characters, vivid set design and intricate plots. This month sees the return of the 7th annual art tribute to Anderson’s work (this year in New York) where the surreal director is celebrated by artists who create pieces inspired by the fantasy worlds of his films.

In light of the exhibition, now seems the opportune time to focus on our Wes-obsession and count down the 7 best visual treats Anderson has given the world so you can use the cold evenings to your advantage. After all, a long dark evening is best spent enjoying the visual prowess of Wes Anderson… Way better than an overpriced gin and tonic in a rowdy bar, right?

The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums follows a dysfunctional family, through seemingly mundane yet bizarre circumstances, where three child prodigies have grown up to be more strange than genius. Margot Tenenbaum, a chain smoker with a penchant for fur coats, is adopted into the family at 11. Chas Tenenbaum, with anxiety and control issues made endearing through his family’s matching red adidas tracksuits, and Richie Tenenbaum, a tennis champion that has isolated himself by travelling the world by boat.

Of course Anderson’s classic muses, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray make appearances; the latter as Margot’s tortured yet besotted husband, whereas Wilson is Eli Cash, a pitiful, long term family friend. The film is presented as if being read from a book, and is one of Anderson’s classic masterpieces.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Bill Murray is Steve Zissou in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, joined by his estranged son, Owen Wilson, both wearing red woollen hats to explore the sea, make oceanography films and hunt down a rare shark that ate Steve’s friend.

Aboard the Belanfonte, the adventure takes the team, including Cate Blanchett, a journalist, and Anjelica Huston, the estranged wife, on an ‘illegal suicide mission’, sailing and diving in a sea that only Anderson’s imagination could dream of.

With yellow submarine vibes throughout, the contrasting, pop art style colours in this one makes for an impressive costume wardrobe, created by Milena Cononero, known for working with Stanley Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange. This film will see you wishing that you too, wore a red knitted hat all the time, every single day, and then you’ll probably consider buying matching hats for all of your friends.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

An adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl children’s story “Fantastic Mr Fox”, shows Fox and various other animal friends engage in a mighty war with Farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean after the cunning theft of some chickens.

With George Clooney voicing Fox, and Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox, it’s unsurprising Anderson’s first animation totally pays its dues to the extensive legacy of Roald Dahl’s fantastical style of storytelling. An orange hued world full of stop motion animation animals, that know exactly how to drop a punchline, makes this film outlandish and amazing.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

A young lobby boy named Zero, becomes the student of Gustave H. ending up tangled in a shitstorm that includes a murder investigation, affairs with elderly women and the protection of a priceless painting.

The dynamic between Gustave and Zero ensures The Grand Budapest is full of deadpan humour, whilst the setting of the beautiful, lavish hotel makes the dramatic events of the characters lives true to Anderson’s highly stylised form of filmmaking.

The Darjeeling Limited

Let Wes Anderson, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartsman take you through deserts and on an (attempted) spiritual journey through a much warmer place, without having to even get up from under the blankets.

Three brothers take a trip on The Darjeeling Limited, a rickety train with way too much baggage and a bad sense of direction, across India. This film manages to make you feel warm inside, without the annoying side effect of cringing, due to the dream-like approach to the difficulties of sibling relationships and tricky adventures.

Spoke Art has turned that inspired feeling that lingers after watching these films, into a creative art exhibition called ‘Bad Dads’. You can check out what people are creating informed by the unusual directors work, until 13th November in The Lower East Side gallery in New York, or follow Spoke Art on Instagram.

Words
Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins
7 Wonders: Wes Anderson

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