Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are may be considered a classic in children’s literature, it’s simple and teaches a modest lesson, and everyone’s familiar with it – so who better to tackle such an imaginative tale than the creative juggernaut Spike Jones? That’s what I thought, anyway. But for those who aren’t familiar (how does that happen?), it’s the story of Max, a young boy who possibly has one of the worst cases of ADHD imaginable – or at least, that’s how the film portrays him. A rambunctious little tyke with a wild imagination, Max happens to lash out at his family whenever he’s ignored…or displeased. Personally, I don’t find this image appealing, but I digress. So after a particularly rough night, Max runs away, and discovers a wild new world inhabited by bizarre creatures. Marveled by the tales he spins, the creatures dub Max as their new king, and turn to them in their times of need. It may seem to be a harsh way to learn lessons in responsibility, but it’s actually very effective, especially when the subjects could possibly eat you in your sleep.
This film had a lot of promise. I mean, a lot of promise. The trailers were fantastic, as was the hype. But to start this off well, I have to say, the visual aspects of this film were spectacular. The wild things looked exactly as they did in the book, and the CGI was absolutely flawless. In a word, this film was visually beautiful. And the way ever moment was captured, there was this child-like quality to it – a way of putting yourself in Max’s shoes, perhaps – or the sneakers of any young child.
However, the book was what, maybe ten, twelve pages long? And to stretch it all out to an hour and forty minutes is well, a stretch, for lack of a better word. Perhaps if it was simpler, like the book, it wouldn’t seem as long, rather than repeating the same points over and over again. Though I do give the movie credit for keeping the same ending and certain plot aspects of the book, it seems that the original ending is awfully displaced in this film. In the book, Max returns home because he’s homesick and lonely. In the film, the loneliness was tossed on the audience like a wet blanket (via Max’s trial and error as King), and there wasn’t much about him missing his mother – he just seems to bask in her distress/relief upon his return.
I do have to give props to Max Records for being such an apt Max. Records was very natural with the character, as if they gave him a wolf suit and let him loose on the set. Though I personally couldn’t really relate to him (perhaps it’s because I’m a cynical college student, but whatever), he seemed to stir some up flashbacks in all sorts of folks – mainly in the noisy children and parents behind me. Uff-da. …At least the music was good. (Thank you, Karen O!)
So in all, Where the Wild Things Are is visually stunning, but too much filler. It would probably be better off as a short film.
Final Grade: B+
…I think Subway can use this.