Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

(2009)

An adaptation of the legendary children's picture book by Maurice Sendak by one of cinema's most exciting talents: Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich).... More

Jonze employs live action and puppetry to flesh out the story that went something like this: Boy gets put to bed; boy sees jungle growing around his bed; boy meets strange monsters; boy dances around with monsters; boy returns to his bed. The cast is also great: Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich), Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind), plus the voice talents of James Gandolfini, Michelle Williams, Catherine O'Hara, Forrest Whitaker and Paul Dano. The young Max is played by newcomer Max Records.Hide

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Flicks Review

A ten-sentence picture book from 1963 has inspired a 100-minute movie about the anxieties and loneliness of childhood. Thankfully, the lack of strong narrative makes way for a beautifully fragile and contemplative tone, under which lies very gentle humour and moments of inspired lunacy (wait until you meet Terry and Bob).... More

It’s hard to tell what kids will make of this languid fantasy. Instead, hipster–king director Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) seems to have adults in his sights, particularly those that still scribble monsters onto their guitar amps or worship musos Karen O and Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox (both feature on the wistful soundtrack).

Rustic production design and South Australian location photography transport us to the landscape of young Max’s psyche (nothing is spelled out as such but we are led to assume it). It’s a land of rocky canyons, sandy dunes, barren forests and vast oceans, nicely enhancing the theme of alienation.

The wild things themselves are amazingly expressive. Visually they are identical to the ones in the book, although they are given individual personalities. At the forefront is Carol (expertly voiced by James Gandolfini), a volatile but principled critter who takes a shine to Max.

Where the Wild Things Are is complex yet childishly simple, insightful yet puzzling. It’s hard to pick how this will go down with the casual filmgoer but I found it to be a completely unique vision, deeply moving and told from the heart.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 20 ratings, 21 reviews
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BY munchkin superstar

I really loved the books as a child and the memories of what the creatures were really like sadly like many things what we adored as children sadly can not be recreated for us as adults still an alright movie but alas I must pass on only two stars from me


BY Nicola lister

I LOVED this movie - But having always been a fan of the book (and Jim Henson) that was predictable I guess. No matter how much I loved it - my two kids (6 and 3) fell asleep in the middle of the movie. It just wasn't riveting enough for them - there are long stretches where very little happens. I guess the story (being quite short) once stretched out loses it's appeal for kids. They just wanted to see the book on the big screen, and this was probably a bit dark for the little ones - who... More only know the book and fail to see the story behind the story.

If you are a grown up kid, and remember the book from days long gone, you will love this - especially for those of us from the Muppets era. The characters are fantastic, their childlike emotions expertly portrayed, and the story is well translated from a kids book where it is easy to miss the point of the story to this movie where the point can't be missed.Hide


BY Ken-Burns superstar

Spike Jonze has got to be a genius to make this what it is. The strong emotional pull and crisp/clean storytelling make it work in the way any real life story can


BY d wannabe

I also took my granddaughter to see this movie and dodnt get a lot of excitement either the two grown men on either side of us found it so uninteresting that they snored through it ( and no they wernt with me). BIG dissapointment


BY Bex wannabe

Though most of us adults have the child within us, I failed to excite the one within me on this one! I was surprised at how much I was looking forward to it ending... Not horrendous, but not an experience I'm overly keen to repeat. My neice however LOVED it, so it's very much a matter of individual taste (and age too no doubt).


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The Press Reviews

73% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The movie felt long to me, and there were some stretches during which I was less than riveted. Is it possible that there wasn't enough Sendak story to justify a feature-length film? Full Review

  • Jonze has brought depth, melancholy and purpose to his film. Full Review

  • Where the film falters is Jonze and novelist Dave Eggers' adaptation, which fails to invest this world with strong emotions. Full Review

  • When faced as a director with the rudderless screenplay he (Jonze) co-wrote with Eggers, he's been powerless to energize it in any involving way. Sometimes you are better off with 10 sentences than tens of millions of dollars, and this is one of those times. Full Review

  • With Where the Wild Things Are Jonze has made a work of art that stands up to its source and, in some instances, surpasses it. Full Review

  • Jonze has filmed a fantasy as if it were absolutely real, allowing us to see the world as Max sees it, full of beauty and terror. The brilliant songs, by Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and the Kids, enhance the film's power. Full Review

  • It’s all very charming and quirky. The hipster flavour that Jonze adds to the film, together with the soundtrack from the downtown NY goddess Karen O, certainly makes this tonally unique among children’s films. But it’s also, ultimately, a little flimsy and unlikely to achieve anything like the iconic status of its source material. Full Review

  • Director Spike Jonze's sharp instincts and vibrant visual style can't quite compensate for the lack of narrative eventfulness that increasingly bogs down this bright-minded picture. Full Review