Director Spike Jonze is a really weird guy. ¬†He's done movies like "Being John Malkovich" and music videos for Weezer, Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim. ¬†His latest is "Where the Wild Things Are" and has been struggling to get this movie made for years. ¬†He was a huge fan of the Maurice Sendak children's story, as was I. ¬†He wanted to make sure this beloved story was done justice and done right. ¬†I'm really sorry to say that if he thinks it was done justice and right then I wish the project was never made. ¬†One of the biggest fears that I have when I hear a children's book is being made into a feature film is that they're going to add so much to the story that what you loved as a kid is merely a shell of what it's become. ¬†Not only did that happen here, but what I loved as a kid was recognizable ONLY by the visuals on the screen. ¬†Jonze and co-writer, David Eggers, managed to take a children's story and craft a deeply confusing and manically emotional story out of what was originally an 8 sentence storybook. ¬†Now I don't think that that's a bad idea, but boy did they miss the mark. ¬†I saw this with my fiance who has a Masters in analyzing literature and extracting meaning from stories and she didn't get it. ¬†I didn't get it either. ¬†And boy will your kids not get it. ¬†It's rated "PG" but don't let that fool you - this is not a kid's movie. ¬†Not because it's too scary or violent (which it actually might be for some) but because it's dull, slow and WAY over the heads of kids. ¬†And that's fine with me, but it's way over the heads of adults too. ¬†There's no resolution, nothing is learned and characters have no arcs or motives. ¬†So disappointing since I really wanted to like this movie. ¬†Not just because I loved the book as a kid, but also because the trailers released for it almost brought me to tears. ¬†The only positive thing I can say about the movie is that Jonze's ability to translate his imagination to things you can actually see is amazing. ¬†The sets are incredible and the use of such diverse landscapes of nature and phases of the sun gave the movie a real organic feel that helped you buy into the fantasy. ¬†But the costumes are the crown jewel. ¬†Newcomer Max Records (who plays "Max") is acting beyond his years and to do it to 12' high, fuzzy costumes with CGI faces is even more impressive. ¬†The voice work of Paul Dano ("There Will Be Blood"), Catherine O'Hara ("Orange County") and James Gandolfini ("The Sopranos") is so convincing, you'd think it was them in make-up (even though Gandolfini just plays the bipolar Tony Soprano all over again, only this time he's fuzzy and adorable.) ¬†However those are the only positive things I can say about this boring, plodding movie that is too childish for adults, too adult for children and too odd for everyone. ¬†But oh well, at least I tried to end on a happy note, which is more than I can say for the film.
Where the Wild Things Are (Rated PG)
Gavin Grade: C
really good review Gavin, although i did like it alot, what you said was all true
Good review Gavin. I'm glad the movie was made. I really liked it and this is coming from a 42 year old who still has his original copy he had as a kid.
I LOVED that the movie didn't explain much and let the audience figure it out. I also liked that whether you believe Max really went to the island or that it was all in his head- it doesn't matter. And yeah the use of the sun impressed me the most. Now to find a Max costume for Halloween!
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