Where The Wild Things Are - Movie Review


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Where The Wild Things Are

It's rather amazing how faithful Where The Wild Things Are remains to its source material, a storybook that contains (to my surprise) more than a few words, and stays faithful to it throughout the course of an entire feature film. With that said, the film directed by Spike Jonze and co-written by literary front-man Dave Eggers, takes liberties unto itself in the form of exploring ideas regarding relationships, friendships, and "all those ships" we've seen in similar dream-like films.

But what a dream it is. It was either a mistake or a fortunate opportunity to view this film late at night. In my mind it remains vibrantly kicking in a vague haze of comprehension. What exactly happened? Well, if you read or simply looked at the book you have a pretty good summary. A young boy is sent off to bed for being bad, without his dinner I might add, and takes off into an enchanted wilderness where the wild Things roam. The Things themselves aren't always so nice, but despite their threats to eat him instead opt to elect the self-declaring boy as King. The King then wishes to return to the world he left, and he does, to the regret of the wild Things.

What the movie captures so well are those moments in childhood when a time of playfulness suddenly turns to a moment of pain and betrayal. These moments are doubly painful due to the fact that in the betrayal we ourselves are the constructors of our own pain. We create games we cannot win, and when we want to win we create games where someone else must lose. The first fifteen minutes of this film are mostly wordless, but in that we are given a truly authentic and engaging experience of what being a kid was all about. It's actually when the Wild Things come into the picture that the image begins to wander, sometime to greatness and sometimes along lines of confused tangents.

This really isn't a movie for kids. Where the Wild Things Are is less akin to The Cat In The Hat than it is to Lost In Translation. Except in this one the kid goes to the island of the Wild Things rather than the island of Japan. The characters themselves are very broken. A central theme is that of loneliness. Max is elected not by his claims to magic, but his claims to bring happiness to the Wild Things. He does, for a little while, but people have a way of letting each-other down. The film is really quite profound in its subtle reveal that the Wild Things were quite wise to elect themselves a king, they were just mislead to choose a human one. What they need is someone who can, quite literally, be inside of them.

Where The Wild Things Are is at times quite abusive to its massive, hairy, muppet/Labrynth-esque friends and often quite dark. I imagine its surreal world just isn't suitable for young children. For adults its wandering nature can either be a joyful excursion or a confusing one. All in all, it's a work entirely of its own which in and of itself deserves great praise just for sticking to its guns, or in this case dirt clumps.

Take a look.

1 comment:

Samantha K said...

if i had watched WTWTA as a child, i'm sure it would have given me nightmares; i don't understand how they could even imply that children might be interested in this movie