By Sean Harris ’11
It is rare when a movie based on a book summarizes everything the book was enjoyed for.
It is even rarer to find a movie that will add a new layer of complexity to the story.
Studios often make the mistake of taking a well known property (“Harry Potter” for instance) and mass-producing it to the public with little respect given to the original source material.
“Where the Wild Things Are” represents what can be done when the story is given proper respect.
The movie starts with a boy named Max (Max Records), a very lonely kid with an overactive imagination. He is undergoing some major changes in his life; his dad is gone, his mom (Catherine Keener) is dating another man (Mark Ruffalo) as well as managing her work and his sister (Pepita Emmerichs) is growing older, which means less time for Max and more time for her friends.
After a particularly violent outburst against his mom, Max runs away from home and sails to another world where the wild things live and he is dubbed their king. The film escalates when Max realizes that the wild things don’t want a king; they want a parent devoid of mistakes, and Max understands more about his own family.
Do not be fooled by the PG rating; this movie will speak to teenagers and adults who have gone through the confusion of childhood more than kids, who might just be entertained by the wild things themselves.
This is rather refreshing in a world that produces children’s movies as if all children have been afflicted with ADD. Following this theme of not speaking down to kids, the scenery is all shot on location, (no green screen) there are very few obvious jokes and CGI is used sparingly.
Director Spike Jonze clearly had a vision while making this movie and it is all spectacular to watch.
As for the acting, Records is able to pull off both the good and the bad of childhood confusion, a miracle considering he has not had any major roles up until this movie.
The voice work for the wild things is also excellent, the standouts being Carol (James Gandolfini), KW (Lauren Ambrose) and Alexander (Paul Dano).
The film itself is filled with symbolism and metaphors, which can sometimes hurt more than they can help. However, when used correctly it only adds more to the film.
“Where the Wild Things Are” is the peak of children’s movies as well as movies adapted from books. It speaks volumes to teenagers and adults while at the same time providing entertainment for children.
Embrace your inner Max and see this movie.
4 out of 5 Horseshoes