“Where The Wild Things Are” is a fantastic film that uses the fantasy genre to explore some great emotional drama, I loved it for all the right reasons. Based on the children’s book of the same name the movie centers on Max, played by Max Records, who is dealing with a broken home life and loneliness which causes him to escape to a world filled with animalistic beasts; wild things.
Why you’ll like it:
Fantasy beasts with the gripping emotional backbone and style of an indie film.
To love this movie you have to first understand that it isn’t a kid’s movie, at all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a true fantasy drama, because fantasy movies tend toward the adventure side of life and this is solely focused on the interpersonal relationships. There are some pretty chilling moments and I think the target of this film is to make us all feel as if it’s us running away, trying to get to the heart of our own childhood. Max is a loner dealing with abandonment issues, and this is reflected in his wild imagination, because even in his mind there’s no place that can end happily, a place that has room for him. So, in a fit of rage and rejection he bolts from his angry mother and takes a boat to the land of the wild things where they make him king, and everyone wants to be his favorite. He soon sees that being the king is harder than even he imagined.
Maybe what struck me most during the movie is how soon I left the visual effects behind in exchange for emotional beings. The drama swept me up in trying to understand how scary and emotionally fragile each of these monsters are; each a reflection of the boy’s own insecurities. One wants another, but keeps pushing away out of rejection disallowing his own acceptance; one never feels heard; one is silent yet feared; one is disruptive and negative at all costs; none of them feel understood and all of them only want to be a family but don’t know how. What really drives home the drama is the intimate style that it’s filmed with, everything is up close and very personal. You see every withdrawn hand as well as the resulting flinch of pain.
The ultimate goal of any technological feat should be to have you forget there’s even technology involved since it’s there to serve the story. Despite the outlandish barbarism that the Things do and how they live, I bought every inch of them as being real. Their faces were reflective of how they felt and their body language denoted what they were thinking. Simply awe-inspiring!
Why you won’t like it:
Emotionally intense, scary in some parts, not a kid’s movie.
I absolutely loved it. “Where The Wild Things Are” essentially amounted to an indie film with CG characters and it’s a place I would love to go, even if I were more than a little scared. You should see this if it’s been a while since you’ve felt like a kid in a storm, because I think every once in a while we need to be reminded that it’s okay to escape in order to find some perspective, we all have a Wild Thing lurking to be understood.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
by Wes Hemings
Starring: Max Records, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano
Director: Spike Jonze
Genre: Fantasy, Drama
Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min.
Release Date: October 16, 2009