on March 7, 2010
i never really saw the attraction of this book when i was a child so was a bit hesitant about seeing this movie, but it was pretty good, better than the book in my opinion.
the story loosely follows the book but only structurally. it leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which i think was a necessary choice to make a feature film longer than ten minutes. luckily the interpretation was well done and really drew upon feelings people have about their childhood, but i'd like to say that this is not a movie for children. first of all, the characters on the island's heads are disproportionate to their bodies, which makes the facial features larger. while i enjoy this now in an artistic sense, when i was young the exaggerated facial features creeped me out a bit, and i could for-see it intimidating small children, especially if there are large teeth and threats of being eaten. the overall tone of the movie has a threatening, uncertain sort of atmosphere, almost as if the viewer feeling like there isn't peace or that the peace won't last long. also, i don't think this is a children's film because the mess max created doesn't get resolved, he just leaves. there is unrest both when he arrives and when he leaves, but tough he tries he doesn't solve it or even clean up the mess he makes. before he leaves one of the monsters says that max is sort of insignificant, that he's too small to effect change. there's also a weird part where max climbs into kw's mouth to hide.. and these kinds of things aren't usually what you'd see in your typical children's film.
as an adult film however, this movie was great. i thought that the way the movie was set up expressed an impression a person would have of their childhood when they were reminiscing about it. max is childhood personified. he has an amazing imagination and lives his life from the perspective of this imagination. everything is taken to the extreme, like when a child wants something but doesn't get it it's the end of the world, or if a child is excited about something a whole new world is possible. the story was almost dystopian because of the fact that max can't make the monsters happy. after a while he just stopped trying and went home to his mom so that he didn't have to deal with it anymore. it's almost like in peter pan where the lost boys need a mother, but there's no wendy here. max just sort of used the monsters to realize that he needed a mother because he was as lost and as afraid as they were. the film finishes with a feel good moment as max eats dinner with his mom after he comes home, and theres a sense that everything worked out and he has love, which was the problem with the monsters, they didn't have anyone loving them.
though i'd be hesitant to take someone under 6 or 7 to see it, it was a good movie about a child's imagination and search for love
Where the Wild Things Are(released Oct/09)stars young Max Records as the central character of the story,along with the voice work of such notables as Catherine O'Hara,James Gandolfini,and Forest Whitaker,among others.It is a wonderful and enchanting tale of a young boy,whose precociousness and wild imagination lead him on a path to eventual self discovery and horizon broadening.
The plot finds Max as an eight year old with a wild imagination who,like many other boys his age,lives in a self centric world of games and adventure.When Max plays,he plays hard.However when others not of his age do not play by the "rules",he cannot understand why and becomes angry and hurt.One instance involves him making an igloo.When his sisters friends come by to pick her up he decides to throw snowballs at them.When the going gets tough he retreats to his igloo,only to have them cave it in and ruin it.The final straw happens when his single mother is entertaining a boyfriend and she doesn't want to come to his room and play(on his command),like she normally would.He comes down to the kitchen,dressed in a wolf costume,and upset,proceeds to defy his mother.When he tries to run out the door she grabs him,and in the struggle he bites her.He finally runs out the door and into the nearby woods,screaming to get his frustrations out.
Max spies a skiff by the waters edge and decides to take it out for a float.However the day turns into night and the next day again into night,far,far away from land.Just below the setting sun on the horizon, he spies an island,on which are burning fires in some woods.As he approaches the island he finds the waters treacherous and with a decided lack of beach,with lots of rocks.He makes it to shore,wet and dirty(still wearing his costume)and proceeds inland.There he discovers a race of big fantastical creatures,kind of like a cross between a sasquatch and and ogre.All of them talk,but one called Carol,seems to be kind of a kindred spirit.Carol is in the middle of destroying their living quarters(like giant bees nests),and when Carol's help from the others goes wanting,Max runs in to help him.Carol immediately likes Max's style,but Max soon runs afoul of some of the others.Max tells them not to eat him as he is a king from far away with tremendous powers.The creatures(seven in all)fall for Max's story and he is proclaimed king,crown and all.
Things go along alright for the first while as he gets everyone in a playful and fun mood.One day Carol takes Max on a long hike,through forest and desert to his hideaway.There Carol had long ago built an imaginary world made of sticks.Max is so impressed that he decides it would be a good idea if everyone chipped in and brought Carol`s idea to life,but with embellishments.Everyone chips in and soon the project is seeing progress,but there are disharmonious feelings among some of the creatures,which Max tries to soothe but which seem to overtake his good efforts.With this in mind,Max devises a clod throwing `war` between opposite teams.At first everyone is enjoying themselves but things go awry when Carol`s girlfriend KW and he,have an argument and one of the others doesn`t want to play and gets hit with dirt when leaving.
Max` s secret finally comes out and Carol finds out also.Carol is so mad he pulls the arm out of one of the others and Max runs for his life.He bumps into KW,who puts him in her stomach to hide him.Carol and KW cannot resolve their differences and Carol storms off,with KW deciding to leave due to Carols disposition.Max thinks and decides to head back home.The creatures all follow Max down to his skiff and he says a heartfelt goodbye to his family of `friends`.Carol,who was pouting,runs back to the shore,but is not in time to hug him.Instead Carol starts howling,and the others chime in.Max finds his way home and the film ends as he sits eating supper,as his tired mother goes to sleep at the table.
Wild Things is an allegorical take on Max`s life,and life and society in general;with each creature representing either a part of Max himself,or a part of his world and/or society,as a whole.Max eventually sees alot of himself in Carol,who doesn`t get why things do not go a certain way or why others won`t do things his way.As a result come the tantrums and bad behaviour.His imaginary reign as king also gives Max a valuable lesson,in that,among other things,everyone is an individual and you cannot please everyone at the same time.In other words,it`s darn hard being a king,even a pretend one.And of course there is that age old lesson,well illustrated in the Wizard of Oz that,there is no place like home.Or like the song Back in your own Backyard,which tells you that everything you could ever want is right there in front of you;`You can see castles in Spain,though your window pane...``.Max Reynolds does a good job as the central character and the costumes and sets are wonderfully done and real looking.Lastly,the voice work is superb by all involved.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 is is generally clear and crisp. Extras include commentary and four shorts.
All in all an enchanting film for the whole family by director Spike Jonze(I doubt if the Spike Jones estate takes too kindly to the resemblance,just wondering).The island,full of fantastical creatures,comes vividly to life because of the quality of the costumes and sets.Much of the younger set won`t get the allegorical context of much of what is going on,but they don`t have to.There`s something in it for people of all ages.Recommended.
on April 21, 2011
I can't remember the quote exactly but I read Maurice Sendak had said something to the effect that the filmmakers had created a magical movie, and anyone who didn't agree could go f*** themselves. (Really - I do recall that last bit specifically, because I thought it was so great.)
It is supposed to be a bittersweet story, and I don't think it's really a movie for kids, anyway. I think it's a movie for the adults who can remember all too well the feelings that made us want to run away to another world, the complete aloneness of being young and left behind, or of being witness to your parents' troubles without being able to help. It's a world created solely by a little boy, so of course it's off-kilter, and weird, and he's a troubled and lonely little boy, so when he's king he screws up and can't make things right, however much he wants to, and that's sad. But the moments when things are good for him and his monsters, and for him and his mother, are truly and wonderfully joyous.
This is a story that never could have been a light-hearted romp. And it's perfect just the way it is.
Max (Max Records) mistreated, misunderstood and ignored by others escapes to the world of his imagination. There he has to be the one to mistreat, misunderstand, and ignore. This allows him to at least have empathy for the other (real) world and his family.
Lots of nice colors and sharp teeth make the visuals quite fun to watch, as a spoon full of sugar.
This film is more of a psychological coming of age film that is not really intended for a younger audience. If you are familiar with Joseph Campbell's coming of age stories you will see the semblance in the film.
The film is impressive for what it is, not what it is advertised as. Australia produces another film with a similar theme called (Bridge to Terabithia' (2007). In addition, Spain came out with a darker version of this theme with "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006). However, one of the closest films to "Where the Wild Things are" is "Phoebe in Wonderland" (2008).
I only saw the Blu-ray version so I cannot compare to other versions.