10.21.2009

Where the Wild Things Are : 5 of 5

Although my parents showered me with Dr, Seuss and other classics when I was learning how to read, somehow Maurice Sendak's 10-sentence masterpiece never made it into my library. But I was still super-excited to see this movie after watching the cool trailers and reading the good reviews, so I quickly enjoyed the book at the store to get ready for the film. Truthfully, the movie only uses the book as a seed, because the filmmakers have created an entirely new, deep, thought-provoking story that is an art film in every sense of the word. Yes, there are creatures amazingly created via live-action costumes and brilliant CG-animated faces, but there are simply no other aspects of a children's film to be found anywhere. Where the Wild Things Are is an adult movie, filled with real emotion and moments that I can't imagine a kid sitting through. But for me, this film was absolutely wonderful, giving me that beautiful melancholy feeling I get with other favorite films like Lost in Translation (I know that's a stretch!). The scenes of Max at home really help to setup his character, who simply struggles with the overflowing energy of childhood in a not-so-perfect world. When he interacts with the Wild Things, it's almost immediately obvious that each one is a part of Max himself, and by becoming their king and confronting each of them, Max sees what's going on inside and learns how to deal with it (just like real life, there's no "solution" - only a way to enjoy life and make it meaningful). Although the script uses a few lines from the book (which is cool), most of the Wild Things' dialogue is purely psychological and philosophical, and I ate it up! Along with the amazing animation effects, the cinematography (especially the prevalent use of hand-held shots) was gorgeous, and I loved how everything was always dirty, matted, and covered in dry leaves, as well as snot and tears. The voice work was astounding, too - James Gandolfini was perfect as Carol (and his trademark loud nose-breathing worked perfectly for this creature!). My opinion may be different from other film-goers since I didn't have a childhood connection to the book (plus I like weird movies!), but Where the Wild Things Are was truly incredible, and I have a feeling I'm going to want to watch it at home on a rainy day sometime!