The lights are on
I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry sometime during this film. And I'm okay with that.
Not sure of the age ranges here, but I'm 29 soon to be 30 (April 20,
2010) years old. The book "Where The Wild Things Are" was something I
read as a kid growing up and then again in high school as part of some
sort of reading exercise. I'm very curious to see how this great book
is translated into a full motion picture. From the review I just read
at IGN, it seems like Spike Jones has managed to capture the
imagination and feels of the book and then some. They gave it 4 out of
5 stars; below is their review.
Who here is seeing it? What are your thoughts / expectations?
Review From IGN.com
October 15, 2009 - In so many ways, Max is a modern child. His father
is gone. His older sister has outgrown him. His mother, who works late
to support the household, is dating a stranger. His teachers are slowly
introducing him to the realities of an adult life, offering lessons on
tsunamis and supernovas. He has no friends with whom to share his
frustrations or figure out his feelings, some combination of betrayal
or anger or loneliness. Yet his imagination is strong and provides him
with a shelter from the storms of his everyday existence. But when, one
evening, his emotions boil over and he runs from his home in a rage, he
crosses some imaginary boarder into the realm of the Wild Things.
With that in mind, Where the Wild Things Are isn't so much a movie for
children as it is a movie about children, awash in a complicated sea of
emotions that one can only associate with childhood long after becoming
an adult. Director Spike Jonze and writer Dave Eggers have crafted an
incredibly sophisticated, multi-layered and strangely subversive
adaptation of Maurice Sendak's novel by replicating all the wonder and
imagination, all the volatile sadness and emotional uncertainty, of
being an innocent kid in a grown-up's world. The pair seems to grasp
that in lacking the vocabulary to fully explain or understand their
most complex feelings, children turn inward, drifting into imaginary
worlds to make sense of the inexplicable. But all too often, their
imaginings are subject to the limits of their own experience, and all
the painted vistas and pretended friendships are just as broken and
unknowable as the lives they were trying to escape.
If this seems like an overly thoughtful approach to a relatively simple
book, you wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but Jonze's decision to create
something greater than just a saccharine, surface-level adventure
proves a bold and striking choice, regardless. There is no grand
journey here. There are no villains. There is no invented story
propelling the runtime forward. There's just a child and a half-dozen
monsters each discovering just how alike they truly are.
When Max crosses an ocean and ends up in the midst of the Wild Things,
he quickly proclaims himself the king of this odd assortment of
gentle-hearted behemoths. Immediately, Max forms a bond with Carol
(voiced by James Gandolfini with both a quiet tenderness and boiling
anger). He's trying to figure out his feelings for K.W. (voiced by
Lauren Ambrose), an approximation of Max's sister in her desire to
break away from the pack, away from the people who love and need her
the most. Carol's emotions are unsteady to say the least, prone to
abrupt, violent outbursts, but much like Max himself, there's a great
melancholy about the character – the very same melancholy that hangs
above almost every sequence of the film. They are characters confused,
wanting to love and be loved, but incapable of adapting to life's
The other Wild Things are all individually representative of Max's
feelings or emotions. Judith (Catherine O'Hara), the moodiest of the
Wild Things, holds a mirror up to Max's own indignation, saying in one
pivotal sequence, "You don't get to yell at me when I get mad! It's
your job to understand, to make us feel better," a universal
frustration that we've all shared as children. Douglas (Chris Cooper)
represents Max's limited sense of reason while Alexander (Paul Dano)
echoes his sense of invisibility. Ira (Forest Whitaker) highlights
Max's desire to make peace, to buffer the conflicts between others and
But what makes the film work – either because or in spite of its
artful, indie spirit – is that each of the creatures feel like actual
characters and not simply some collection of walking, talking
metaphors. They have their own personalities and arcs, and while the
group's conflicts revolve around the construction of a massive,
imaginary fort – as opposed to some epic, Disney-esque adventure – they
each get their moment to shine. This is in no small part due to the
jaw-dropping effects work required to bring them to life, from the
full-scale, beautifully-designed suits to the CG used to animate their
facial expressions. WTWTA may mark the most aesthetically dynamic
integration of practical and digital effects we've seen in quite some
time, and if you feel yourself wanting to reach out and give Carol a
hug, you'd hardly be alone.
Jonze's direction is appropriately matter-of-fact, never romanticizing
the world of the Wild Things. In fact, by virtue of setting most of the
film in a dense forest, the monsters are generally the only visual
element of the film that feels particularly fantastic. Yes, there's a
desert landscape and the fort itself is impressively grand in its
design, but everything here feels like an extension of the natural
world. No CG kingdoms anywhere in sight. And Jonze's decision to film
the world with a minimized sense of wonder, focusing instead on the
size of things relative to Max – the monsters pose a constant threat of
accidental harm – ultimately keeps the focus on Max and his
Overall, Where the Wild Things Are is a tremendously moving and
intelligent film, so much so that it risks alienating audiences who are
expecting a more typical adventure. There is humor here, and joy, and
amazement, but for every beat of whimsy, there's one of sadness or
confusion. So it'll be up to the age and maturity of the kids in the
audience whether they'll ultimately "get" all of what the film is
aiming at. That said, if you take the film for what it is, you'll
discover a complex and extraordinary accomplishment, as moving as it is
odd. A true Wild Thing in itself.
XBL and PSN Gamer Tag = Huph
Already a thread for this, man. Enjoy your stay here.
Ah, thanks. I didn't mean to post a duplicate thread but I'm not seeing an area where you can search the forums for particular topics or keywords.
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SO HEY WHO SAW THIS
Yeah I did. It was <3. Like in a way there are things I could nitpick about it, like there's not much closure in the ending, which is saying something since there's not really much of a plot, but that pretty much seems like the point. Besides, watching the movie was such a joy that I didn't even care.
Hey guys. I didn't see it yet. But I think I will wait for it to come out on DVD because I might.....never mind!
It's definitely not a movie for kids. It has some pretty scary parts, and kids aren't going to get the metaphor.
I saw the movie this weekend and i admit, i shed A tear. However, after the movie i couldn't help but think there was a deeper meaning to the movie. Sort of like Bruno Bettelhelm's versions of the uses of enchantment. I read that Spike Jonze had to redo parts of the movie because WB didn't like how it turned out. Some critics say its too scary for children. What did everyone else think of the movie?
I can't wait to purchase the game.
Just saw this last night and I have to admit I didn't enjoy Spike's interpretation at all.
To respond to the post above quickly, I agree with those critics in regards to younger viewers. This movie is simply too scary for children. This is primarily because the slight "cuteness" of the animated monsters from the book does NOT translate well into live action costumes. Rather than seeming like the crazy creations of a childs mind they really seemed like frightening monsters. I will admit that I, at 25 years old, was uneasy with their appearances. While they didn't scare me they just looked more... demonic than I thought they would. I get that Spike might have been going for that, but to me it doesn't represent the source material well.
That gripe is minor, but what really killed me was how boring, cliched, and manic the film was.
Nothing happens. This shouldn't be surprising since the source material consisted of roughly a dozen sentences, but I was expecting more of a narrative. It is essentially a bunch of randomness randomly stuck together. I understand Spike might have been going for this effect, thus mirroring a child's mind, but it didn't work for me and I will address that later.
Max's backstory is where the cliches thrive. Sister ignoring him. Mom has work and a boyfriend. Dad is gone because of divorce. No friends. I get it. I know some of that comes from the book but it's a modern take on the story and I felt like yawning; we've all seen this too many times before. The book dealt with it quickly and got to the imaginary action, Spike should have done the same.
Probably my biggest complaint was the manic nature of the film. Now before someone flames me as a viewer too dense to understand Spike's vision I want to confirm that I see what he was going for. This is the inner ramblings of a childs imagination. Of course it will be up and down. However the "up" parts just weren't as magical and joyous as I hoped they would be. I was thinking it could rival moments like the imaginary food fight in "Hook", bringing emotional, yet comic joy to the audience, but scenes like the dirt clod throwing fight just ended up being drawn out and depressing. That brings the "down" parts into discussion. When this film strives for depressing, man, does it ever get depressing. I understand that Max is going through a tough time but the overwhelming sadness of this film was just too much. I expected something like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" that would touch me emotionally while keeping some happiness either present or on the horizon, but when this film shoots for sad it achieves it fully. That in itself is not a big gripe, but here's the problem: they simply go with depressing scenes and dialogue far too often. I only laughed or smiled once or twice, which is less than I would while reading the small number of sentences in the book.
You can say I had too many expectations, and that's fine, but keep in mind I was in an audience consisting of a great deal of parents with young children. Also, the previews which played right before the film were almost exclusively animated films in the vein of Pixar. I would bet a fair amount of people in that theatre left feeling either scared (children) or depressed and disappointed (adults).
Like I said I fully expect to be flamed by many of those who grew up loving the book (which I did) and then took that nostalgia into the theatre with them and came out loving it (like I hoped I would but just couldn't), but really it's just my opinion and I hope to spare some moviegoers the time and money it would take to go see this flawed vision. I graduated with a minor in Film Studies so I have studied films that are significantly more complex than this so it was NOT over my head. I'm not stroking my ego, I'm just trying to defend against those who will say I just "didn't get it". I see what he's going for, I just don't think he pulled it off.
Looks alright. The trailer music got stuck in my head.
I just came from the theater.. and while the majority of the above post from William is basically spot on I wouldn't necessarily say it was a complete failure. One of your early lines you talked about the source material - what exactly are you referring to? There's a kid who gets scolded, gets sent to his room, and starts imagining things, then realizes his mom really loves him and he eats his dinner =p I don't see how it's that far off, granted there is added metaphoric character narrative in there with different emotions of those around him in real life. It certainly is depressing though.. a few smiles in there, but that's about it. The fact, though, is this is a different world we live in today compared to when the book was written in the early 60s and these themes are now relevant.