Where the Wild Things Are (2009)


Now you are king and you will be a truly great king.

— Carol

Based on the beloved children’s book of the same name, Where the Wild Things Are, director Spike Jonze and co-screenwriter, David Eggers expanded a ten sentence book into the feature length narrative. This was one of my most anticipated movies of the fall season ever since it was announced. This was one of my favorite books growing up. This movie tapped into the eternal youth inside of everyone watching this.

Max (Max Records) is a introverted boy that is dealing with death of his father, his older sister, Claire (Pepita Emmerichs) ignoring him and his mother (Catherine Keener) dating a new guy (Mark Ruffalo).

One night when the boyfriend comes over, Max goes into one of his tantrums and he bites his mother. Max runs away. He reaches a small boat and sails into the treacherous waters to an island.

Max explores it and sees a campground where he sees some strange creatures running around when one of the creatures, Carol (James Gandolfini) destroys the huts the others have. Max wants to join in the fun and the creatures at first want to eat him, but Carol proclaims him as king.

During the time there, Carol and Max have an instant friendship, because they have very similar personalities. Carol introduces King Max to the other inhabitants of island. There is the older married couple, Ira and Judith (Forest Whitaker, Catherine O’Hara), ignored Alexander (Paul Dano), Douglas (Chris Cooper) and silent The Bull (Michael Berry, Jr.)

Max’s job is to make the Wild Things happy, but Carol is not happy when a former flame, KW (Lauren Ambrose) abandoned the group to strike out of there own.

Max wants to make the society work with building a communal nest for everybody, but things are not happening the way that it’s supposed to be.

Jonze’s captures the imagination of a little child. It was his intention to have the creature captures eaxactly the way that were in Maurice Sendak’s book. The seamless transition for the suit to the CGI is something to behold.

That being said, this is not a perfect movie. The plot is paper thin. There wasn’t that much depth into the characters and the situation. There was no peril. There was a sequence with Max and KW towards the end of the movie that didn’t make sense.

Judgment: If you want to recapture a moment in your youth, see this movie in the theater.

Rating: ****


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on October 17, 2009, in 2009, Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I found myself working extra hard to figure out the backstory of the wild things, it had me leaning forward in my seat to try to get ahead of things. I came upon something today though that didn’t make it into my review: The Wild Things certainly have adult names, and they certainly have a lot of adult problems. My thought is that the Wild Things are a kind of sign of what’s to come in Max’s life if he doesn’t sort out his personality issues. They’re like a sounding board for him to work out his issues so he cam run back to mom. As I write that down, maybe that’s obvious, but it seemed to tie together a lot of the darker elements of the film. Oh, and a great soundtrack.

    • I had that same feeling as well when I was watching the movie. I thought that Carol was the mirror of Max. What would happen if he continue on the path that he is going?

      I wish that we would get more invested in the Wild Things. The film barely scratches the surface of the creatures.

      • I’m as disappointed in the degree of depth of the Wild Things are explored in the movie as I was with the book. I was way more interested in the monsters than Max when I read the book as a kid, but I guess they’re meant to just be incidental encounters while Max is working out his issues.

  2. I can’t read this. I can’t accept it.

  3. I hope someone will come out with Halloween costumes based on the characters in WTWTA before the 31st… it would be awesome to dress up as Carol

  1. Pingback: LAMBScores: Where the Wild Things Are, Paranormal Activity and A Serious Man | Horror Movies Blog

  2. Pingback: LAMBScores: Where the Wild Things Are, Paranormal Activity and A Serious Man | H O T !

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