Finally one of the most beloved children's books of all time has been brought to life. Spike Jonze who's responsible for directing such odd and artistic classics as Adaptation and Being John Malkovich took on a bit of a different subject matter this time around with this kids classic, although it's not quite as "kiddy" as one might think.
Everyone out there should know the story of Where The Wild Things Are. A kid runs off to a special island and dreams up a bunch of monster friends to play with. That's the basic premise of Spikes version too although things get a little more adventurous, heartfelt, sad, and dark along the way. After Max gets into a fight with his sister, and a screaming match with his mother, he takes off alone down the street during the night wearing his dog suit. He hops in a little boat and sails off to a special island. The moment he gets in that boat is when his imagination runs wild. On the island he meets a bunch of big hairy monsters. Some with horns and one that even looks like a goat, or I think he is a goat. These are the wild things.
The main wild thing is a male named Carol. Right when Max arrives he sees that Carol is unhappy with whatever the current situation on the island may be and he's smashing everything in sight. Max immediately bonds with him. They have so much in common right off the bat. Maybe this is because Carol is portrayed after Max. Max sees things played out in front of him from his own life through the lives of these wild things. He learns lots of life lessons along the way but it's a very dark way. There's lots of crying and fighting, physically and verbally. The way Max and his sisters relationship was portrayed through the wild things was done really well and it was my favorite part of the film.
The set design and the wild things were absolutely stunning in every aspect. The settings and cinematography were both beautiful. The film has a very dark and sort of dirty feel to it. The wild things are these filthy hairy monsters with strange faces and creepy sharp yellow teeth that are sure to give a child under 12 nightmares. But I think that the overall message of the film and Max' power to dream will overcome those nightmares in the end, so take your kid. The wild things were so well done it was amazing. It seemed like it was a mixture of actors in suits with CGI for their faces. The voices were also right on target and casting James Gandolfini as the voice of Carol was freaking GENIUS. He nailed it. Max played by Max Records a newcomer to the scene was really good too, a natural talent already in his young age.
Believe it or not I think that this is one of those films that requires multiple viewings to fully get what's going on. I mean you may know what's going on but I would love to see it again to be able to catch every little detail that's being played out in front of Max with these wild things. This is a story of a boy who's fed up with the world. A boy who just wants to escape and run wild. He wants to play with friends that he wants to play with. He wants to be in charge and he wants to be loved. But Max learns many valuable lessons in the end. How to be a better kid, a better son, a better brother....and a better dreamer. Where The Wild Things Are is sure to get even better with each viewing, but for now it gets a 4 outa 5.