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Where the Wild Things Are

 

 
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Runtime: 101 min
 
Synopsis: An adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world - a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures who crown Max as their ruler.
 
Release Date: October 16, 2009
 
Written By: Spike Jonze
 
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Posted October 16, 2009 by

 
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Max the wild thingWith probably one of the most unique and intoxicating soundtracks combined with a bizarre story and excellent voice acting, Where the Wild Things Are will easily become a classic. Though I found Max (Max Records) to be an impossibly spoilt little brat at the beginning, the kid grew on me and when he finally started interacting with his furry, imaginary buddies I began to really like him. Taken from Maurice Sendak’s children’s story of the same name, the movie stays faithful to the story with a whole lot more thrown in.

Plot: Max is a lonely boy with a very good imagination. When he isn’t building forts or making up stories of glory, he tends to get into mischief as a futile attempt at getting attention. One day he decides to dress up in his favorite wolf costume and terrorize his mother (Catherine Keener) while she entertains a date (mom is a single mother of two). When his mother pleads for him to calm down  the embarrassing display of jumping on the table, howling and demanding she bring his food, Max bites her in the face and takes to the streets running away. With his mother trying in vain to catch him, Max sails away to a mysterious island where he meets seven unique friends and becomes their king.

One of the most memorable characters that Max befriends is the volatile Carol (James Gandolfini). As an angry furball hellbent on keeping everyone together, this character’s emotion and misguided goal is one of the major features of the movie. Though I felt each character was like-able and unique in their own way, I wished that the story was a bit clearer in the way it was carried out. The voice acting was top notch and the visuals were breathtaking, from the forest to the desert landscape, the land of Max’s imagination was as beautiful as it was strange. Story be damned, this is something that I am sure kids will cherish for decades to come, it is this generation’s Neverending Story.

For fans of the book who may have issue with the liberties that Spike Jonze has taken with expanding the story, you should know that he worked closely with the author of the book and has been given his approval for this movie. The music of Karen O and the kids is what did it for me as my favorite portion of the movie. Where The wild Things Are is a bit of candy for the senses, namely the hearing and seeing senses as you will be wowed by the visuals and  the music. For the story, I was a bit detached, annoyed at times and hated the end – being a student of the “spare the rod and spoil the child” school. I think little Max needed a strong belt and an ounce of discipline, but his adventure was cute and although there isn’t much of a moral to the story, the way it ends is pretty nice.

Though slow at times, confusing when it shouldn’t be and a bit uneven, I think Where the Wild Things Are is a must-see for the big screen IMAX experience. Your entire family will not be disappointed and you will probably want to pick up the soundtrack after seeing it.


Greg Dragon

 
Cinephile and opinion writer, Greg Dragon has been a fan of movies since the 80's when Kung Fu theater was all the rage and Roger Moore was James Bond. Greg is the founder and lead critic of Spicy Movie Dogs. You can follow him on Twitter @Rafacus or on his Google+ account.