Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Where the Wild Things Are" (2009) - Movie Review

Spike Jonze’s adapts a children’s book which I was not aware of and develops that into more than something else. Just a little more which causes it to be a little too long. But Jonze creates a world and creatures with a uniqueness showing that he is the man who made the modern classics as “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation.”, of course with the screenplay guru Charlie Kauffman. This time it is the co-writer of “Away We Go” Dave Eggers lending hands with Jonze to help him generate this film.

There is young Max (Max Records) living with his mom (Catherine Keener) and sister (Pepita Emmerichs). He is missing his dad and seeks attention. His stubbornness lands him in a night where he becomes much trouble and flees home. He runs away to find a boat and begin to sail. And he lands in an island with creatures speaking perfect English. In that weird bunch is a lonely one Carol (voice of James Gandolfini) and Max becomes friends with him. Soon many tight corners and new place makes him to build a story wherein he is the King.

“Where the Wild Things Are” is a PG rated film but it is not frothing rosy pictures and merry characters. It takes a route what “Coraline” took but not as dark as that. Max is a kid looking to be sympathized and feel special. Every kid goes that phase, especially with Max missing his father. While he is initially afraid of these things, he acts on his emotion to support Carol who is a replica of Max’s emotional state. In this island these beings live for nothing other than to crash and destroy things and then sleep in a pile. I would like to believe that it is all a manifestation of Max’s imagination but it does not really matter. The reason is that it is not about Max’s return to his home but to sort out himself amongst these huge beings.

There is little to no history of these creatures except that Carol has a thing for another supposedly “female” creature KW (voice of Lauren Ambrose). The idea is to spread the carpet of Jonze’s creative ability and that is the cornerstone of this film. Max and Carol takes long walks in the amicable desert, the cold and silent woods and the overlooking sea lying comfortably by those. When Carol shows a miniature town he constructed, Max decides that to be their objective before which we do not know what their purpose were. That floors up to the structures so high up and surreal appear to made out of sticks. All these are so greatly typical of Jonze’s previous works and it takes as much as it could.

What happens in this journey is that, the objective is unknown. This is a kid’s film we are talking and the movie as much it would stay away from the traditional moves, it does put the expectation of an end and closure with the creatures than the known ending of Max returning home. What is this island represent to him and what is the lesson he learns from this? He seem to be fine staying away from home and when Carol loses it, he is afraid but he does not look like a kid eager to go back home.

“Where the Wild Things Are” begins as a solid film. It gets the troubled kid to behave into the extremities a single mom do not want. Catherine Keener in that two scenes brings such a sorrow, love and intensity being there raising two kids on her own with troubles all around. The same begins to loom as Max heads to the island but does not go beyond certain time. I liked “Where the Wild Things Are” and in fact would have admired a lot more but it loses its sprit as the purpose of the beings dissipates into the region of unclear.


Samantha K said...

I had to walk out of this movie about half way through... it flat-lined after about 10 minutes and didn't recover after that

Ashok said...


I do have to agree with you on the Flat line but not after 10 minutes though. I was pretty much entertained for half of the movie until it had nowhere else to go.