Jul 19, 2010

Where The Wild Things Are Review

A little boy named Max with an active imagination (which is putting it nicely) angers his mother and gets sent to his room. When he refuses, she gets angrier, he gets scared, and he runs away. Bending the believability of the world they live in, somehow Max ends up finding a boat by the lake, or I guess ocean, and sailing out to a fantasy island full of enormous charismatic creatures, each trying to deal with their own set of problems. They immediately buy into all the childish, imaginative stories Max spews out and crown him their king, whose main decree is to solve all of life's problems by having fun!

A common criticism about the film is that it's not a children's movie, despite being based off of a children's book. It's a drama, and a sad one at that. The beginning is sad, because Max's over-the-top energy and unpredictableness gives off the impression he has autism, or at the very least extreme ADHD. The ending is sad, at least in my view, though I won't give away any spoilers as to why. In some people's eyes, it may be considered a cheerful ending, but at the very least, I feel like the ending lacked definite closure in both Max's fantasy world and Max's real world.

That said, though the movie started and ended depressing for me the majority (seriously, not even the whole) middle of the film was just fun. It was fort building, dirt fighting, and pigpiles. Friendships galore. The animation/costumes, voice acting and creativity of the monsters and their abilities and particularly personalities were very engaging. The personalities might have been a little too force-fed however, as at certain points you come to believe everyone is two-faced, just for the sake of having "well rounded, three dimensional characters".

My Highlights:
The dirt fight and fort building are incredible, both visually and emotionally. And I loved when K.W. saves Max after he's angered Carol. Basically, the raccoon stole the film. If you like tear-jerkers, I can tell you that one particular aspect of the ending will be a highlight for you.

Overall Rating:
Back in May of 2009 when the movie was first advertised, I was totally pumped about seeing this film! Then it came out in October, and I put off seeing it, and put off seeing it, and nobody wanted to see it in the theater with me. So I waited for it to come out on DVD, but it took a while before I could justify getting it to the top of the list above other movies I wanted to see. Then I finally saw it and it wasn't anything I expected/wanted. I wanted all the fun that I saw in the film, and none of the depression. The director has answered this criticism in interviews that his goal was "to make a movie about childhood" rather than to create a children's movie.

Well I guess he accomplished that by having no real point or moral to the film, rather having it just be a long story that doesn't get resolved. The clearest message I could find was "kids, if you don't like your life just run away. When you come back everyone will be so happy to see you that all the bad stuff will be forgotten!" I'm going to give this film a solid 3 *'s out of 5, or 6 out of 10. I don't care if some people did give it rave reviews, I don't see it anywhere near 5 *'s, or really even 4 *'s.

When You Should See It:
If you still have any interest in this film after reading this, then I support you indulging in the viewing. I know a lot of people really did like the film, and I'll admit that dramas are hard to get a good score from me. I liked Rain Man, sure, and Forrest Gump, but for really depressing films, even if that's the intent I have trouble enjoying myself. I mean I guess I'm not supposed to enjoy myself watching a sad movie, but movies are supposed to be entertainment, and I don't consider being sad for 90 minutes entertainment.

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