Where the Wild Things Are Reviews
The Story: captures all the magic and feel of the book, while expertly handling all the added new material with great precision. Now, you're probably wondering, The book is only 20 pages and 338 words long. How in the world can you stretch out a simple little story into an hour and a half? Unlike most Picture book to movie adaptations where they try to add random ideas for the sake of the movies runtime, this movie actually adds in ideas that relate to the original book's themes and messages. They add a whole new layer of complexity by making the overall narrative more character focused which can lead to some really deep topics not only for kids but even for some adults. Not to mention that this film can also be really dark and depressing in a lot of scenes which may scare some younger viewers but it never goes too depressing as their are a lot of very uplifting and charming moments that do really balance out the overall flow. It seemed impractical and it shouldn't have worked but I can definitely tell that everyone who made this movie knew what made the book work and how to execute it properly to the big screen.
The Characters: in the original book either had a simple personality or no personality at all which worked great in that aspect because the main focus was on the imagination of the world Max visits and the messages we take away from the story. The movie takes a different approach by giving all the characters relatable personalities. Max is probably the most relatable and his personal struggles are made extremely sympathetic. The greatest thing about Max is how he captures the innocent and Imaginative aspect of being a kid. It can really relate to how a lot of us dealt with problems such as the ones Max goes through in the movie. Max's mom and sister are added in characters and they work in how Max see them from his perspective and how we them struggle or try to go on in their own life from our perspective. Then there's the Wild things and each of them have different emotional arcs that work for Max to bounce his emotions off of. Many of them have mixed traits from other personalities related to Max's family. For Example, Carol could be a mix of Max's desires and his emotional trauma and K.W could be a mix between his mother's love and his sisters down to earth mood. They all are enjoyable and engaging to get into when they have their emotional conflicts. it's great to see how they turned the simple characters from the book into sympathetic and complex characters that really tug at your heartstrings.
The Cinematography: is nothing short of impressive as it combines both the style of the book and style of it's own and both work great together. Most of the movie is shot on the island and a lot of the scenes are usually driven by what the characters are feeling. Whenever it's joyful, the setting is bright, colorful and full of life. Whenever it's depressing, it becomes foggy, dark and cold. The overall look of the island is mainly comprised of mountainous landscapes, tall tree forests, Large Sand Dunes and Huge Stick fortresses. Although all of those aspects are done with great care, nothing can ever compare to the amazing puppetry of the Wild Things. They look like they just jumped straight out of the book. Every single one of them was definitely made to look like their Illustrated Counterparts and I like how they are mostly Puppets and not Computer generated. Even though the style of the book was more colorful I still really liked the style in the movie and it's uniqueness did help make it stand out as a style of it's very own.
The Music: does go for a more modern western approach and it yet it does fit in very well with the movies style. They use a lot of hard guitar strums to emphasize danger or character trauma as well as use light guitar strums to capture the state of being a child with a very active imagination. The added songs are very nice and playful whenever things become joyful and fun. The sad orchestral music really works in a lot of emotional moments especially near the end and they could definitely bring some people to tears.
Final Verdict: Could this movie work if it had just been more playful and innocent like the book? possibly. It might not have been the movie many people thought they were going to get and the complex morals might be a bit dark for a lot of younger viewers. However, what this movie succeeded in doing is capturing what made the book so loved while at the same time adding it's own layer of complexity to turn the simplest of stories into a emotional roller coaster. It's a love letter to a lot of childhoods and it tackles subjects that really should be talked about more especially to children. This movie is so much more than people give it credit for. It might be darker than your average family film but in regards to an adaptation from a simple told story, it definitely does the book justice. (A)
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?"
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.