Where the Wild Things Are

"Excellent"

Where the Wild Things Are Review


Jonze's inventive approach to Maurice Sendak's classic children's book continually confounds our expectations with an approach that's so offhanded and fresh that it might feel awkward or strange. But it's a real grower.

Max (Records) is a mischievous, imaginative pre-teen with a dismissive big sister (Emmerichs) and an understanding mum (Keener). But a series of events get him thinking about the fragility of life, so he takes a flight of fantasy to a distant island populated by furry creatures who at first threaten to eat him but then adopt him as their king. Playful games ensue, as he leads them in the construction of a giant fortress. But even here, relationships become tricky to navigate.

Jonze creates a relaxed, natural atmosphere as seen through Max's childish perspective. This continues seamlessly from the real world across a vast sea to the island of the wild things, which of course represent his internal turmoil.

He immediately befriends the lively, sensitive Carol (voiced by Gandolfini), whose strained relationship with the more adventurous KW (Ambrose) begins to define Max's experience. There's also the busy bird-like Douglas (Cooper), the anxious goat-like Alexander (Dano), the acerbic Judith (O'Hara) and her patient sidekick Ira (Whitaker).

These creatures are a terrific combination of vibrant voice work, superb design (by the Jim Henson company), raw physical performance and remarkably subtle effects. Tiny details make them thoroughly real--small attitudes, flickers of emotion, physical traits like Carol's perpetually runny nose. And the film's full of boyish energy, as Max builds forts, initiates dirt-clod fights and wrestles raucously with his pals. But what makes this grab hold is the way it so sharply captures how tempers flare, feelings are hurt and relationships are strained.

Yes, Max is learning that he's not the only person on earth; he needs to think about other people and face the scary prospect of growing up. Jonze puts this together in such an unexpected way that it really catches our imagination. His filmmaking might be a bit startling at first, but this film deserves to become a perennial classic that challenges us all to find the fears inside of us and overcome them.



Where the Wild Things Are

Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th October 2009

Box Office USA: $77.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $99.8M

Budget: $115M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Playtone, Wild Things Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 184 Rotten: 70

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: John B. Carls, , , , Maurice Sendak

Starring: as Max, as Connie, as KW (voice), as Carol (voice), as Judith (voice), as Ira (voice), as Connie's boyfriend, Pepita Emmerichs as Claire, Max Pfeiffer as Claire's Friend, Madeleine Greaves as Claire's Friend, Joshua Jay as Claire's Friend, Steve Mouzakis as Teacher, as Alexander (voice), Michael Berry Jr. as The Bull (voice), as Douglas (voice), Ryan Corr as Claire's Friend


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement