My general impression of this was that you'll like it almost exactly as much as you like Wes Anderson. It's the most Wes Anderson-y film he's made, which is somewhat mind-boggling, as all his other movies are incredibly Wes Anderson-y. Fortunately, one of the things that typifies him is that he makes really good movies, and so he did here.
I was slightly surprised at how thoroughly it's a film about the kids. They're without a doubt the central characters, and none of the adults really come close to their screen time. And they're wonderful. But then, so are the adults. Bruce Willis is probably my favorite, giving his most engaged, likable performance in at least a decade. But there's no losers here.
The art design is more twee and symmetrical and designed than ever before, but it's also quite distinctly specific to this story, and New England in the 60s, in the way that Darjeeling was familiar yet specifically Indian. It's a movie my Dad needs to see pronto (which is a word he'd use), as it seems to have jumped straight out of Davy Crockett/Boy Scout milieu he grew up in, and often resembles a Boy's Life illustration sprung to life. It's colorful, painterly, and gorgeous. The visual imagination in this movie is impeccable. In a just world, this would probably pick up all the design element oscars, especially for costumes. It's rare to have a movie this intensely (and yet gently) gorgeous. The song choices are pure Wes Anderson aesthetic too.
I don't know that the script or characters are quite as gripping individually as the absolute best of his work (Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic for me), but the thematic ideas in the film are probably the clearest. It doesn't have any points to make or anything, but the innocence and purity of the central adolescent romance contrasted with the jaundiced, all-too-experienced middle-aged ennui is quite compelling. It's even got a hint of tragedy to it.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Even though the ending is decidedly upbeat, it does suggest that sooner or later, these kids will grow up and everything that was uncomplicated and pure will get compromised and somehow faded.
It will make a fine addition to the Blu Ray shelf.