Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Mind of a Child: Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are is a fantasy film. Thoroughly. It occurs in the protagonist’s imagination after a dreadful fight with his mother. Quite a number of reviews that I’ve read for this have revolved around childhood nostalgia that encompassed reading the book on which it’s based. I’ve never read the book, and to an extent I feel that knowledge of the subject lends itself to a more emotional involvement in the piece.
There’s one issue I have with the film – Max. I suppose, the point of the whole experience is to show Max’s maturity, but for the first half of the film I really couldn’t muster up any empathy for this spoilt brat. Perhaps, that’s the whole point. But it’s still a little disconcerting. And that final scene where the luminous Catherine Keener embraces him was almost vomit inducing. I just wanted to slap him. But truthfully, it’s the only significant issue I had with the film. Sure, it’s a pretty big one. But it’s still only one.

By the end of it all you can’t help but be charmed by the wild things, even if you do want to slap Max. Like with an animated film, the voice work is essentially the driving force and here it’s well done. Particularly by Catherine O’Hara and James Gandolfini. Still, I’m not sure why it’s made so many cry. It didn’t strike me as particularly distressing. But that could just be my heartlessness. I don’t know.


The Mad Hatter said...

I didn't feel that Max matured or really grew during his time with The Wild Things...he just got even lonelier and sadder. He is a brat - but that's the whole point. So if you felt like you wanted to shove him in a corner for time out, that's actually what the story wants you to feel.

Great review!

Alex in Movieland said...

we seem to have the same movie source :)

I've seen this today. didn't go nuts for it. technically, it's gorgeous, but it feels a bit abrupt. a technical achivement i found a bit boring.

but again: technical masterclass.

what do u mean Mark Ruffalo?! he just played the boyfriend. maybe u wanted to say James Gandolfini...

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

alexoh crap, yeah gandolfini. what is up with me. people have been going nuts for it, probably because they love the book. my six year old nephew was quite enthralled, though. he especially loved the music.

the mad hatter i guess it's not your typical children's story. but max really was a complete brat. great review i know you're pulling my leg, but thanks :)

joe burns said...

Didn't really feel the urge to see this in theaters. Might rent it though.

The Mad Hatter said...

@ andrew... That's the whole point, Max is supposed to be a complete brat. if that's what you felt watching it, then the film achieved the spirit of the character. Know what I mean?

I wasn't joking - i DO like this review. You didn't mince words and got right to the point. Given how much time and words I spent trying to sum up AVATAR, I could use this kind of brevity.

Keep 'em coming!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

the mad hatter oooh. can't wait for that avatar piece. i have a distinct feeling that i'm not going to like it though. which sucks.

a brevity, that's a word you don't hear often.