Max and his friends
Where The Wild Things Are tells the story of a young boy, Max, and his epic journey to a mysterious island inhabited by a race of large creatures and his struggle to deal with the new developments in his family. Directed by Spike Jonze, the movie is exquisetly shot, acted, scored, and edited. This film is most definetly the best movie to be released so far this year because of its depth, insight, and emotional beauty.
The film starts with off with a bang as we watch Max run around the house and chase his dog while roaring like an animal. The camera work is shaky and close up, giving you brief glimpses of Max's face and the huge smile that resides there. As the movie continues, the shots stay close so the viewer will be able to better identify with Max and his feelings as they grow. Eventually we are given wide gorgeous shots to symbolize that Max's perspective on the world is broadening as well.
Max is the youngest of two children and lives with his mother. We're not told much about his father, but the impression is that the divorce is still fresh. Like most young boys, Max has an active imagination. His bedroom is filled with toys that have very obviously been played with. He builds igloos in snow banks and forts out of blankets in his bedroom. Eventually the night comes where his imagination and need for attention gets out of hand and he storms out of his house and runs away.
After coming upon a small boat, Max takes off to where the wild things are and unintentionally meets up with an exquisite cast of creatures that all represent in one way or another the different aspects of his character and how he's dealing with the problems they create.
I won't get into the history of the book by Maurice Sendak or how it caused a bit of a controversy when it was first released, or how it didn't really get the credit it deserved until at least two years after first being published. I won't even mention how similar things occured with the movie adaptation and how some people felt that Spike Jonze would not be able to do the classic story the justice it deserves. All I'll say is that Where The Wild Things Are is epic, beautiful, and truly a masterpiece. It's a children's film that deals with heavy material that a growing number of children are being faced with in these crazy days in which we live. Max runs away in a tantrum and meets himself on his journey. He is forced to see his shortcomings as he rules as king over the Wild Things and handles their squabbles. When he eventually comes to the conclusion that he must return home, he's no longer a small child.
Quite honestly, I could go on and on about this film, but I'll end my review with this: Where The Wild Things Are is a shining example of film making at its best. I can't recall a time when I've felt more lost in the events of a film and so intune with the characters. This is a film that every family should see together.
Where The WIld Things Are opens today in theaters. For local theaters and times, check Fandango