Where the Wild Things Are has everything: breathtaking Australian scenery, with foaming surf pounding barren cliffsides; magical sets in which miniature worlds come to life; a quirky musical score that fully complements the story’s surreal atmosphere. Oh, and did I mention it has actors in giant animal suits?
Where the Wild Things Are is certainly not a bad film — if you happen to be nine years old. I found it excruciating. I kept glancing at my watch to see when it would end, and I don’t wear a watch. I might be one of six people in America who has not read Maurice Sendak’s beloved story, but there was nothing in director Spike Jonze’s crashing bore of a film to send me rushing to the bookstore.
I can’t completely trash the movie, because for all I know, it really does hold appeal for the tots in our midst. But its arty pretentiousness leads me to think that Jonze was targeting adults, as well. But whatever metaphors or embrace-your-inner-child motivations the filmmakers might have had are lost in this soggy mess, in which the whining “monsters” are more annoying than the young protagonist.
And did I mention there are actors in giant animal suits? Sheesh. Grade: D
Director: Spike Jonze Cast: Paul Dano, Forest Whitaker, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Catherine O’Hara, Max Records, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Chris Cooper Release: 2009
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