Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are

****

Reviewed by: Leanne McGrath

Bringing one of the best-loved children’s books of all time to the big screen is an immense challenge - but acclaimed director Spike Jonze meets it head on and created a masterpiece.

Jonze is best known for quirky, original movies, such as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, and music videos like The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage and Weezer’s Buddy Holly, a spoof of Happy Days with the band playing for the Fonz.

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For Where The Wild Things Are, based on the multi-million selling tale by Maurice Sendak, he lets his inventive imagination run wild and creates a breathtaking fantasy world using stunning live-action puppetry, flawless CGI and a talented voice cast.

The story follows Max (Max Records), a mischievous and attention-seeking nine-year-old who fights with his mom (Catherine Keener) and runs off, later sailing away to an island of mysterious creatures. They are desperate for a leader to guide them and crown Max king (after initially threatening to eat him) but he soon finds that ruling and keeping everyone happy is not easy.

The wild things puppets were created by Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop and are the flawless works of art you would expect from such a reputable team. The monsters, with digitally enhanced expressions, interact on screen with Max in ways animated or CGI creatures never could.

Loveable yet scary, the animals are voiced by acclaimed stars such as The Sopranos’ James Gandolfini. He is the hot-headed yet playful and emotional Carol, who Max bonds and identifies with most.

The movie also boasts an uplifting and catchy original score by Karen O of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The energetic tracks perfectly match the playful action on screen as Max and friends run riot destroying trees and having mud fights.

Not much actually happens in the movie, but then the original book only has 10 sentences. And one word of warning, it is extremely dark in places - more Dark Crystal than Labyrinth - and may upset very young children.

Reviewed on: 04 Nov 2009
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Where The Wild Things Are packshot
Mischievous lad learns how tough it is to be a parent when he is crowned king of a family of magical monsters.
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Director: Spike Jonze

Writer: Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, Maurice Sendak

Starring: Max Records, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Forest Whittaker

Year: 2009

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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