Review: Where The Wild Things Are

Last Friday morning I took the bus down to the Arclight to see Where The Wild Things Are, something I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. I saw the movie by myself, I guess in hopes that I could soak up the movie to the fullest. The build up for this movie is unlike any I’ve ever seen for a movie. I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect going into it, but I can say I was more than pleased and was immensely touched by the movie.

If you’ve seen the movie, keep reading under the cut for my thoughts on the movie. If you haven’t I suggest you go see it and then let me know what you think.

The best way I can describe this movie is like a dream, or maybe a memory. The movie starts out with Max running through the house and chasing the dog, just like the first page of the book. It shows just how out of control and crazy he is, and that’s the point, he’s a kid, he doesn’t need a motive. You start to see some glimpses of Max’s life; a sister who chooses friends over her little brother, a mom who works late to support the kids and a dad who’s no longer around for some reason. When Max catches his mom kissing who I assume is her boyfriend, Max starts to feel threatened and acts out, jumping on the kitchen counter and yelling at his mother, played by the amazing Catherine Keener. They both start freaking out and Max bites his mother, who in turn freaks out and causes Max to run away from home.

Obviously, this leads him on his own personal journey to Where The Wild Things Are, a place where he feels like he can fit in. The Wild Things as I understand them, are different aspects of his own personality, as well as the people in his life. During his time with the Wild Things he begins to learn things about himself and the people he loves. He starts to learn that the way he acted wasn’t probably the best way to handle things, and that he even though he’s only 8, he should still try to think of other people’s feelings before he acts out. Realizing his mistakes he sails back home where his mother is anxiously waiting for him with a hot dinner and a slice of cake.

For me, this was enough. It’s a small and poignant tale about a boy who figures out something about himself. That the world is hard and that we all have problems. For me the story doesn’t need to be any more complex then that, because good art doesn’t need to have depth. In a sense the movie reminded me of The Red Balloon, the 1956 French film which follows a boy and his red balloon. The movie has no dialogue whatsoever and it’s considered an absolute classic. In both films though you’re presented with a feeling of youth and excitement that’s hard to match.

I was really impressed with the Wild Things and the CGI and costuming that went along with them. There’s the part where the sleep in a pile, and Max talks to KW underneath them all. It’s a scene that feels absolutely real and flawless, and I didn’t once stop to think that he was talking to a giant puppet with a CGI face. I also thought the DP Lance Acord was flawless and absolutely beautiful. He gave it such a sense of life and beauty and I found myself grinning at many scenes for the sheer beauty.

I’d love to hear what you think, but please, if you want to comment write something intelligent. If you write “It sucked” or “It rocked” it’s probably going to be deleted. I don’t mind anyone disagreeing with me, but at least have a valid argument.


October 19, 2009