Wes Anderson movies are easy to spot. You can tell them by their stylized sets and the fact that they basically have the same cast on rotation. What's not so easy to tell is which Wes Anderson movie you happen to be watching at any given moment.
There is a clear formula to follow when making a Wes Anderson movie. First, take a rich and eccentric family and throw them into an exotic setting. Next, make sure none of the characters has any redeeming qualities whatsoever. Add a lovely but unattainable woman who might fuck a few of the guys but won't end up with any of them. Finally, just for good measure, throw in a misfit, who is modeled after Anderson himself. Demonstrate this by making the misfit a writer of some kind. For example, Max Fischer in Rushmore or Eli Cash in The Royal Tenenbaums.
Another trend of Wes Anderson movies is to cast one or both of the Wilson brothers while refusing to ever cast them as characters that actually are brothers. In films that usually revolve around a family, it wouldn't be that hard to cast Owen and Luke as brothers, but instead, Anderson likes to make one of them the next-door neighbor, while trying to convince the audience that the other is brothers with Ben Stiller, Adrien Brody or some other equally Jewish actor.
As should be expected, when it comes to movies that center around families, incest is often at the center of the plot.
Adopted incest but still
Second cousins. Probably.
Come on man, it's not just the vibrations.
Though at first glance it may seem that all Wes Anderson movies are alike, he does try to shake things up with each new movie. Sure, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou might, to the casual observer, seem similar to The Royal Tenenbaums, but Anderson made sure to shake things up by throwing his characters onto a submarine this time! See? A submarine! It's a totally original movie!
"I say, Ringo, that Wes fellow already used 'Hey Jude' in lieu of a score for his last picture, so he might at well rip us off again for this one!"
When it came time to make another movie, Anderson thought, Hell that submarine idea worked out pretty well, so this time let's see how well a rich and eccentric family fares on a train. No, wait... I've got it! An Indian train! This idea worked out pretty well too, mostly because Anderson didn't waste time trying to conceive a plot or logical reason that would lead three brothers to India in the first place. Instead, he just had one of them mumble something about needing a "spiritual quest" and figured that was explanation enough. Throughout the movie, characters and audience members alike couldn't stop asking what happened to Owen Wilson's face. Of course, that's what I ask myself whenever I watch an Owen Wilson movie.
Who cares what happened to your face. The better question is, "What the fuck are we doing on this train anyway?"
In addition to the exotic setting, The Darjeeling Limited was unique because it was proceeded by a 12-minute film called Hotel Chevalier, which starred Jason Schwartzman and a very naked Natalie Portman and served as "Part One" to The Darjeeling Limited.
After those 12 minutes, I don't care what happens on that train. By the way, did you know that Jason Schwartzman is the drummer for Phantom Planet, the band that sings the theme to The O.C.?
The only actor who can brood with or without a mustache
So what's next for Wes Anderson? He's done a submarine and a train, so in keeping with this transportation theme the obvious next choice is a plane.
"I have had it with these motherfucking rich eccentric people on this motherfucking plane!"
Actually, Anderson does have a new movie in the works called Fantastic Mr. Fox. Unlike his past movies, it's not an original screenplay. In fact, it's based on a book by Roald Dahl. That's right, the guy who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Sounds pretty cool, right? Like most Wes Anderson movies, Fantastic Mr. Fox is going to to feature Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman, but it's also going to feature some newcomers by the names of Meryl Streep and George Clooney. Starting to sound fucking awesome, right? Oh wait... did I mention that it's a stop motion animated film about foxes?
I suppose you have to see a movie before you can judge it, but honestly, this movie doesn't seem to even bare resemblance to Wes Anderson's style. He substituted goddamn talking animals for all the things we love about Wes Anderson movies. Things like detailed sets, lovable loser charcters, suicide attempts, incest, and most of all, naked Natalie Portman!