“The Royal Tenenbaums”Upon watching Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums”, one cannot help sensing that something different, cinematically speaking, has been experienced. As far as camera moves, the dolly in and out and the tilt are used predominantly for the introductions. Then, pretty much the director uses crane and static shots. Only in two occasions do we experience the use of handheld, and both involve characters running up and down the stairs.
The director chose deep reds, muted yellows, and browns; which appear mainly throughout the old house and the street on which it stands, which are characters in themselves, to give it a sense of warmth, familiarity and age. Nevertheless, the house, which is the main stage where all the characters reunite and eventually confront one another, also carries a dark orange tonality, which can mean distrust or deceit-one of the main themes of the film. The use of red is also Chas’ color; and since Chas is the most hostile character, then red seems most appropriate. By using extensive high key lighting, the audience is allowed to appreciate the overall color palette of the film.
Another aspect of “The Royal Tenenbaums,” and this applies to Wes Anderson’s two previous films as well, is the use of recorded music. The artists and the songs chosen seem to fit perfectly with the sequence, to the point of not only enhancing it, but also making it unimaginable without it. Again, Margot Tenenbaum’s montage underscored by The Ramones’ Judy Is A Punk; the opening sequence with an orchestral version of The Beatles’ Hey Jude; Margot and Ritchie’s kiss with The Stone’s Goodbye Ruby Tuesday; and one of my favorites, Ritchie’s suicide attempt with Elliott Smith’s Needle In The Hay. Most of these songs are also used as sound bridge, unifying a particular sequence.
There are no sound effects or sounds that don’t actually belong to the story itself, with the exception of the seemingly understanding narrator, done by Alec Baldwin. This narration is done over past images from the opening to closing sequence, giving it a sense of literary completeness (which is alluded, in the opening scene with the book of the same title, being checkedout of the library). The Royal