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Posts Tagged ‘where the wild things are’

Where The Wild Things Are Movie Review from

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Check out this hilarious review, from, for Where the Wild Things Are?, Couples Retreat, Zombieland, 9, Gamer, and more. Check them out! It’s fun.

Movie Review: Where the Wild Things Are

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

In so many ways, Max is a modern child. His father is gone. His older sister has outgrown him. His mother, who works late to support the household, is dating a stranger. His teachers are slowly introducing him to the realities of an adult life, offering lessons on tsunamis and supernovas. He has no friends with whom to share his frustrations or figure out his feelings, some combination of betrayal or anger or loneliness. Yet his imagination is strong and provides him with a shelter from the storms of his everyday existence. But when, one evening, his emotions boil over and he runs from his home in a rage, he crosses some imaginary boarder into the realm of the Wild Things.

With that in mind, Where the Wild Things Are isn’t so much a movie for children as it is a movie about children, awash in a complicated sea of emotions that one can only associate with childhood long after becoming an adult. Director Spike Jonze and writer Dave Eggers have crafted an incredibly sophisticated, multi-layered and strangely subversive adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s novel by replicating all the wonder and imagination, all the volatile sadness and emotional uncertainty, of being an innocent kid in a grown-up’s world. The pair seems to grasp that in lacking the vocabulary to fully explain or understand their most complex feelings, children turn inward, drifting into imaginary worlds to make sense of the inexplicable. But all too often, their imaginings are subject to the limits of their own experience, and all the painted vistas and pretended friendships are just as broken and unknowable as the lives they were trying to escape.

When Max crosses an ocean and ends up in the midst of the Wild Things, he quickly proclaims himself the king of this odd assortment of gentle-hearted behemoths. Immediately, Max forms a bond with Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini with both a quiet tenderness and boiling anger). He’s trying to figure out his feelings for K.W. (voiced by Lauren Ambrose), an approximation of Max’s sister in her desire to break away from the pack, away from the people who love and need her the most. Carol’s emotions are unsteady to say the least, prone to abrupt, violent outbursts, but much like Max himself, there’s a great melancholy about the character – the very same melancholy that hangs above almost every sequence of the film. They are characters confused, wanting to love and be loved, but incapable of adapting to life’s inevitable changes.

The other Wild Things are all individually representative of Max’s feelings or emotions. Judith (Catherine O’Hara), the moodiest of the Wild Things, holds a mirror up to Max’s own indignation, saying in one pivotal sequence, “You don’t get to yell at me when I get mad! It’s your job to understand, to make us feel better,” a universal frustration that we’ve all shared as children. Douglas (Chris Cooper) represents Max’s limited sense of reason while Alexander (Paul Dano) echoes his sense of invisibility. Ira (Forest Whitaker) highlights Max’s desire to make peace, to buffer the conflicts between others and within himself.

But what makes the film work – either because or in spite of its artful, indie spirit – is that each of the creatures feel like actual characters and not simply some collection of walking, talking metaphors. They have their own personalities and arcs, and while the group’s conflicts revolve around the construction of a massive, imaginary fort – as opposed to some epic, Disney-esque adventure – they each get their moment to shine. This is in no small part due to the jaw-dropping effects work required to bring them to life, from the full-scale, beautifully-designed suits to the CG used to animate their facial expressions. WTWTA may mark the most aesthetically dynamic integration of practical and digital effects we’ve seen in quite some time, and if you feel yourself wanting to reach out and give Carol a hug, you’d hardly be alone.

Jonze’s direction is appropriately matter-of-fact, never romanticizing the world of the Wild Things. In fact, by virtue of setting most of the film in a dense forest, the monsters are generally the only visual element of the film that feels particularly fantastic. Yes, there’s a desert landscape and the fort itself is impressively grand in its design, but everything here feels like an extension of the natural world. No CG kingdoms anywhere in sight. And Jonze’s decision to film the world with a minimized sense of wonder, focusing instead on the size of things relative to Max – the monsters pose a constant threat of accidental harm – ultimately keeps the focus on Max and his relationships.

Overall, Where the Wild Things Are is a tremendously moving and intelligent film, so much so that it risks alienating audiences who are expecting a more typical adventure. There is humor here, and joy, and amazement, but for every beat of whimsy, there’s one of sadness or confusion. So it’ll be up to the age and maturity of the kids in the audience whether they’ll ultimately “get” all of what the film is aiming at. That said, if you take the film for what it is, you’ll discover a complex and extraordinary accomplishment, as moving as it is odd. A true Wild Thing in itself.

Where the Wild Things Are Movie Trailer – Trailer 2

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

The adventures of a young boy named Max who, after being sent to bed for misbehaving, imagines that he sails away to where the wild things are. Max is loved by the wild creatures who make him their King, though he soon longs to be back home with his family.

Cast: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Michelle Williams, Michael Berry, Jr., Paul Dano, Tom Noonan; Direct by: Spike Jonze

Where the Wild Things Are

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Release date: Friday October 16, 2009
Genre: Family, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Director: Spike Jonze
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers
Producer(s): Gary Goetzman, John B. Carls, Maurice Sendak, Tom Hanks, Vincent Landay
Cast: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Michelle Williams, Michael Berry, Jr., Paul Dano, Tom Noonan
Official Site:
Rating: PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language
Available film art: Where the Wild Things Are movie posters

This adaptation of the classic 1963 children’s book concerns a restless little boy, Max, who is banished to his room for prancing about dressed like a wolf. He eventually sneaks out into a world created by his own imagination, which is populated by massive furry beasts who make him the king of their world.

SDCC 09: Where the Wild Things Are Sneak Peak

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Get a sneak peak at Spike Jonze’s new project.

There’s been quite a lot of talk about Spike Jonze’s long-in-development adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are. Over the years, we’ve heard and reported on production delays, reshoots, rumors that he film simply wasn’t up to WB’s liking, and more word that the film was, quite the opposite, a hugely successful and heart-wrenchingly emotional work. Thankfully, Warner Bros. chose to open their Comic-Con panel by highlighting the film, and if the footage screened for us today is any indication, “successful and heart-wrenchingly emotional” is by far the most accurate description.

Beginning with a brief video featuring Sendak and Jonze discussing the film, the panel focused largely on the fact that this isn’t a straightforward adaptation of the material. With Sendak’s blessing, Jonze is interpreting the material in a way that is meaningful and personal to him. Sendak is, in fact, overwhelmingly supportive of Jonze’s approach, stating that it honors the intention and spirit of the book while expanding upon its themes. As the film’s lead, Max Records, quoted of Sendak, anybody who doesn’t like the film “can go to straight to Hell.”

Where the Wild Things Are image 1

While Jonze was not in attendance, Warner screened three scenes for Con attendees. The first was a simple sequence of Max walking through the Kingdom of the Wild Things – of which he has been named king – with the monster Carol, voiced by James Gandolfini. They stroll through a forest lit by the late-day sun as Carol tells Max that everything in the kingdom – except that hole, that stick, that rock – belongs to him now. They proceed into a vast desert in which Max spies a massive animal and seems filled with wonderment. Carol simply says, “That’s the dog. Don’t feed him or he’ll follow you everywhere.”

The second sequence is one in which the Wild Things begin to play, jumping gleefully atop one another as Max tries desperately not to be crushed. Soon, Max is encased in small dome of creatures, who each murmur about the joys of the day as the fall to sleep, and so does Max. The final scene showed the building of a giant fort, as all the Wild Things pitch in for its construction, using their massive size and strength to dig tunnels, toss rocks and heft mile-high tree trunks.

Where the Wild Things are Image 2

What strikes us immediately about the footage is a strange, almost melancholic mixture of wonder and sadness, joyful exploration and a deep, desperate longing. The tone is immediately striking and, at least to a sentimentalist like myself, remarkably beautiful. This is underlined by the hulking, hunched-over, droopy-eyed design of the creatures themselves, creatures which seem exceptionally stylized and yet strangely real. There’s also a great sense of danger – that these are giants playing with a small, fragile boy, however good their intentions. In just those few short clips, there was humor and drama in plenty, and we suspect that fans might just be in for a magical, fantastical treat later this year.

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