Where the Wild Things Are
Directed by Spike Jonze
Starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, and the voices of James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, and Lauren Ambrose.
As I’ve been mentioning in my podcast leading up to this film, Where the Wild Things Are seems to have this massive cult following. I’ve run into people for the longest time who are all like, “IT CHANGED MY 7-YEAR OLD LIFE!” I read it when I was seven years old. I liked it, but it didn’t change my life. However, my movie gossip sites have been bubbling over for the past six years of the long and trouble journey this film adaptation took. Hell, six years ago, when Spike Jonze was first signed on to direct, I told one of those people whose life was changed by this book that the guy who did Being John Malkovich was bringing it to the big screen. Her eyes went wide and she said, “That movie’s going to be insane.” Well, here we are, it’s finally in theatres, it’s the most hyped movie of the autumn, and my curiosity got the better of me.
Max is a fairly typical boy. He likes to build snow forts. He likes to dress up and pretend he’s a monster. But he’s also got issues. He’s a got a psycho teacher who rants about the sun going out some day, he comes from a broken home, and he’s feeling neglected by his mother. Then, one night, he throws a tantrum, bites his mom, and runs off into the woods. He soon finds himself on an island populated by big furry monsters…the Wild Things. But see, these monsters all have problems too. They’re neurotic, they’re worrisome, and some of them you just don’t want to make angry. By hanging out with these monsters, Max is on a path to learn more about himself and the world around him.
What I Liked
The Wild Things are animatronics courtesy of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, giving the film a really nice, old-school, 1980s-style fantasy film kind of vibe. The visuals are just stunning. The acting, both real and voice, is also bang on.
What I Didn’t Like
Umm…nothing really happens in this film. I know parents usually tell kids to “use their words” and talk through their problems, and that’s the approach that Max and the Wild Things take. It’s just very talky for a kids film.
I’ve never understood the mad love for the book, and I don’t understand the mad love for the film.