Amazon Holiday

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

( Guest Review by Russ)

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: Based on Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, nine year-old Max flees home after getting into trouble, and takes a journey across the seas to a forest inhabited by wild creatures, where he becomes their self-appointed king.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Max Records, Catherine Keener, Pepita Emmerichs, Steve Mouzakis, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Michael Berry Jr., Chris Cooper

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. Incredibly imaginative, strikingly visual and very true to the spirit of the book, this adaptation will most likely please a lot of fans. But it’s simply not for everyone and despite the fact that it does a good job in filling out a fifteen-page children’s book into a feature-length film, it still drags at times.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: The wild creatures Max stumbles upon have a lot of humor to them, both visually and in their dialogue.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: There is a lot of melancholy in Max’s journey, but only one moment might bring some tears, and even then, I’m not so sure it will for most.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: It’s a gorgeous and imaginative-looking film, so it will probably be nominated for all the visual type awards.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Max Records, who plays Max, is excellent. Apparently, this is his acting debut, but he’s clearly a natural. There’s no mugging or over-acting and that goes a long way toward relating to Max’s journey and inner struggle. The Wild Things’ voices are all perfectly cast to inform their expressive faces and even though the physical actors in the creature suits will not get much mention, they also do a fantastic job.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: We’ve come to expect a lot from such a visual filmmaker as Spike Jonze and he’s definitely on his game once again. It’s easy to tell how much he loved this book and story because there are no compromises and it really feels like Sendak’s drawings have come to life right from the page. The movie also stays true to the internal plight and struggle of a nine-year-old boy and that comes though in every single detail Jonze puts on screen (including the fantastic opening shot which ends on a freeze-frame of the film’s title, so don’t be late). But it is maybe that central focus that makes the movie less mainstream. In other words, if you want a Pixar-movie-‘feeling,’ then go see a Pixar movie. At a Q & A after the screening, Spike Jonze spoke about some of the details of the six-year odyssey of making this movie which only made it that much more impressive. But it also made me wish he could figure out a way to make his movies a little faster because six or seven years is too long to wait for a new Spike Jonze film.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: The script is really impressive especially when considering the source material it’s based on. In fact, it’s almost shocking that a major studio would greenlight this particular version of such a popular children’s book. In keeping with Sendak’s original intent, Jonze and co-writer Dave Eggers keep a laser-like focus on how Max’s adventure would play out in detail, and everything works. In the hands of a different director/writer, this story could have become a typical effects-laden Hollywood extravaganza, but not this version. Both emotion and imagination are given equal weight in the story and maybe the biggest compliment I could give the writers is that it plays out as if written by a nine-year-old boy. And trust me, that’s a major compliment in the context of what this film is trying to accomplish.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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Ralph said...

My 25 year old son to whom we read the book many times can't wait to see the movie. He is so excited about how the pictures have been transformed into reality - or at least a movie.
I plan to attend with him.

Samantha K said...

it's interesting how polarizing this movie is, some people say WTWTA is the best movie of the year while others say it's the worst; i tend to lean toward the latter opinion just because it didn't really have a plot

Sun Wukong said...

I have the iphone app and chucked it because it kept crashing ... but I am looking forward to the movie if it opens at all here in asia because I think very few people actually know who Maurice Sendak is.