Where The Wild Things Are
- Director: Spike Jonze
- Genre: Family, Fantasy, Kids
- Details: US/101mins PG
- Release Date: 11/12/2009
Jonze has done a truly wonderful job bringing the (saturated in ambiguity) source material to life. Almost regarded as child-like himself, he may just have been the perfect choice for this highly anticipated adaptation. At times it can feel like abstract-filmmaking, but that's also part of its charm, and there is plenty of that seeping from its every pore. But, despite its literary beginnings, Where The Wild Things Are is by no means a movie for kids; well, not you're archetypical kid anyway. This is, however, the type of production that will resonate hugely with certain members of its audience, be they of any age group.
Max is a lonely young boy living with his mother and sister. Acting out one night when his mother isn't giving him enough attention, he bolts from the house after biting her, descending into his own mind for comfort and company. Where Max goes is a land full of neurotic monsters, who crown him their king. He befriends the tempestuous Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini), the alpha-monster who just wants to keep everyone together - and acts out, just like Max, when he doesn't get his own way.
What Jonze does is fill the gaps. Some will have made a movie of the 20-odd-sentence book years ago in their own heads, but WTWTA is the closest they'll ever come to seeing it fully realised. This is an entire world created with amazing pragmatic effects that never overshadow the character within them. Jonze was always an artist, even when he was making music videos; but here he connects with the material the way few other directors ever could.
12 year old Max Records is remarkable at the core of the film, running wild and squeezing every ounce of empathy he can from the audience, he surely had a long future in feature film. Records either picked up some of Jonze's mannerisms while they were filming, or the decision was made subconsciously by the director to cast a youngster with similarities to himself; whatever the reason, it works.
Everyone will have a different response to it, even children, but those that do respond will fall in love with the heartfelt, dreamy tone and strange world Max makes his way to. See it, let it sink in, then see it again.
Review by Mike Sheridan | 09:00 | Friday 11th December 2009 | Movie Review
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