A pleasing adaption of the original book,
This review is from: Where the Wild Things Are / Max et les maximonstres (Bilingual) (DVD)
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.