Where the Wild Things Are - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Where the Wild Things Are Reviews

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August 22, 2017
Where The Wild Things Are is the best children film I have ever seen. I was a little skeptical about it at first because, "How could you adapt a 40 page picture book into a full length film?" Thankfully Spike Jonze was there to take control of the project by being the writer and director. I did watch this film a few times before when I was younger and liked it, but I never gave it a true critical analysis. And since I was reviewing Spike Jonze's other films and thought they were all masterpieces, I thought I might dabble in reviewing this one to see if this still holds up. Yet again, this is another well crafted masterpiece by Jonze.
This has to be best screenplay he ever wrote. Most of the dialogue is just simple, but it's it simplicity that makes this complex world believable. This perfectly captures how kids talk and think when they're alone trying to figure out the complicated stuff of life around them. Characters would do something random or something random would show up in the world, but there doesn't have to be perfect logic, because Spike knew that kids don't focus on that when they're creating a world to fit their emotional needs. The characters can each be a metaphor on some element in Max's life, but Spike makes sure that that part of the characters stayed ambiguous because the mind isn't that straight forward. I kinda feel uncomfortable watching some of it because I felt like I snuck into a world that was raw and very personal, and I wasn't supposed to see it unfold.
The production is through the fucking roof on this film. Almost everything in this film is practical effects, the faces of the monsters were CGI but they were still pretty damn impressive. Every thing from the island to the monsters' giant whole bodies were on set.
The cinematography makes it look like you're looking through the eyes of this adventurous child. The camera shakes like crazy when he runs and plays but doesn't shake too much to the point of just seeing a blur, and it would focus on the beautiful scenery while Max is just taking a brake and looking around the world.
What Spike always know what to get perfectly is get a soundtrack that fits the tone of the film. All of the songs are just kids singing acapella and/or beating on drums like wild. It's not too professional so you can get a feel that Max actually made these songs in his head.
I'm surprised to hear that this film is disliked by half of the audience. Spike gives us what modern family films can never give us; a serious drama. Every family films try hard to be a comedy, but Jonze knew that wouldn't fit his story or style. This is also the most depressing family film I've seen. I almost cried during the film at least four times. This is such an underrated film that needs to be watched by everyone. Parents will understand their childrens' emotional state better, kids will understand why they do these things, and people who forgot what it was like to be a kid alone will be refreshed. If you were a fan of the book and didn't enjoy the film, give it another watch with this in your mind, "What was it like when you were alone as a child?"
½ August 19, 2017
A deeper underlying meaning too complex for the audience it is aimed for.
August 17, 2017
Best fim of the year
½ August 14, 2017
This film was as fun as a sandpaper slip"n"slide. Highly recommended for those that want to stir up childhood disappointments and painful memories best left forgotten.
August 5, 2017
I can watch it 24/7 and not get tired of it
½ July 10, 2017
Now when I was about 5 I saw this movie and thought it was pretty bad but now that I have grown up I can realize that this is a masterpiece.
July 7, 2017
A very smart, emotional gem of a film about the essence of childhood. This is a Spike Jonze masterpiece that in my opinion is criminally underrated and deserves more attention and praise.
½ July 7, 2017
One of the biggest underated movies I've ever seen, Where the Wild Things Are invited us back to a time in life where we are still trying to figure out our emotions, with some friends to help us along the way.
½ June 22, 2017
While I admire the film for being visually stunning and unique in its take on the beloved children's story, this version of a child growing up, made me sad and empty.
½ June 1, 2017
I'm not sure how Jonze managed to take such a wonderful, magical children's book and turn it into this overwhelmingly depressing anger-fest. An incredible disappointment.
May 21, 2017
Visually immersive, emotionally connected, and thankfully well-acted; this wildly imaginative, though perhaps depressing, picture book adaption is a solid entry in the history of child-and-monster films.
May 19, 2017
A movie for all ages. Nails the direction and playfulness of the atmospheric story from beginning to end. 5 out of 5.
½ May 4, 2017
Strange but unfulfilling. (First and only viewing - Fall 2009 in theaters)
May 2, 2017
The Movie overall was good, the dark gloomy atmosphere, The humming songs are creepy and sinister ,almost if they were trying to get the feeling of loneliness and fear across. I don't like how it doesn't show what they eat, and they show how he survived a year long journey on the ocean in a tiny boat. They do a excellent job of getting the emotions across to the viewer as well as how isolated they really are.
March 12, 2017
This film is not just visually great but amazingly acted showing a
troubled child and how they actually act. I must warn you though it
does deal with very dark subjects and much like a monster calls if you
want to watch this with your child you might need to plan on explaining
some iffy subject matter. It is a truly beautiful movie and i do
recommend you watching it. Is it perfect no but i give it a 5/5 because I love watching the film and that it deserves a lot more credit than people give it.
March 4, 2017
Walked away from the first viewing totally blown away and emotionally exhausted, and found the second viewing even more satisfying. Congrats Spike Jonze on 3 consecutive incredible films!
½ January 17, 2017
For me, as for many small children, the cruelty of schoolmates, bickering between me and my siblings, and feeling misunderstood by adults were all sources of hurt, frustration, and genuine heartache. I remember putting on my Superman cape, my Ninja Turtle bandana, or my Batman mask and retreating to the backyard or, mother forbid, climbing onto the roof of the house to escape into the recesses of my imagination. There, I could be whoever I wanted to be.

When real-life bullies exploited my physical weakness and avoidance of violence, there in the grass I was more powerful than a locomotive and faster than a speeding bullet. In my imagination I wouldn't need to fight; bullies respected my strength and backed down. If my loving parents ever showed exasperation at my limitless energy and rightfully attempted to place limits and rules, I'd pretend I could fly away, never to be held down. When older siblings, entering adolescence, balked at my immature playfulness, I dealt with the very real heartache and confusion by pretending I was a hero or a king. Then, I was adored, appreciated, and loved. I became someone who saved the day and earned the respect of those around me.

For that reason I, like millions of readers across the decades, identified so readily with Max, the protagonist in Maurice Sendak's classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are. Dressing like an animal to escape his home life, he imagines a land of creatures and monsters that make him their king. A brisk ten sentences in length, the book tapped into something primal in my childhood heart.

Spike Jonze's hour and 45 minute film version expands on Sendak's vision without straying from its essence, and like E.T. and The Goonies, addresses real-world stresses that effect children in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner even as it interweaves them with its fantasy. In fact, the entire film is a wonderful hybrid of the real and the surreal, and rings true to the oft-forgotten emotional experience of childhood.

If this all sounds deep...it is. This is not a lighthearted kid's movie, and I wouldn't take young children to it. Not because it's inappropriate, because it isn't, but rather because adventure and fantasy are not used here to simply entertain. Rather, they purposefully and honestly dissect the broad spectrum of young feelings: fear, love, embarrassment, joy, loneliness, belonging, fun, rejection, and the sheer exhilaration of physical play. The film's Max learns, through his experiences, to make sense both of his own feelings as well as his mother's experience. He gains a taste of what it means to grow up and to be responsible for the welfare of others, and just how taxing (and rewarding) that can be. Ironically, while Max comes to comprehend adulthood, adult viewers are reminded of what it really means to be a child. While based on a book for young children, the film version seems more appropriate for adults and older kids looking to understand each other while being wowed by impressive fantasy.

And it is impressive. The artistry of this film is simply stunning. While many family movies rely too heavily on special effects, Where the Wild Things Are was wisely shot in real forests, with its young actor interacting with real Wild Things (which is to say, real-life actors in large animatronic suits as opposed to computer-generated beasts). While it is true that a giant fort and the Wild Things' faces are CGI, these visual effects are integrated seamlessly, giving the film has an organic quality. Wild Things approximates the blurry line between imagination and reality experienced by kids. The handheld (but not shaky) camerawork adds to the earthy realism, and some of the warm autumn colors captured during moments of sunrise and sunset are gorgeous to behold. The Wild Things themselves are always fun to look at, and the technical wizardry in their design deserves an Academy Award.

Young actor Max Records is movingly real; he never seems to be acting and never appears to be coached by a director). He simply conveys what it is to be a nine year-old. The vocal work for the Wild Things is top-notch, and despite the movie's often melancholy tone, there are moments of great humor and genuine wonder. Though Where The Wild Things Are ultimately has a good deal of warmth, heart, and soul, this is a bittersweet tale with profound themes whose sadder moments will likely alienate those just looking for a good time, as will the time it spends on introspection. Younger children, as well as those seeking pure entertainment, may find themselves bored and restless. For those up for the challenge, however, it is a fine family film that doesn't insult one's intelligence.
January 7, 2017
This movie won me over when one of the monsters lost a limb and was filled with sand!
December 30, 2016
Based on, or more accurately, "inspired by" the children's picture book of the same name, Spike Jonze's idea of "Where the Wild Things Are" is a lot like its titular characters - greatly intimidating, but also very warm and emotional deep down.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2016
Spike Jonze's auteurish adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book is dark, visually haunting and more adult in tone than the original story, taking us on a melancholy journey into a kid's inner self where his wild things are.
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