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Media > Movies > 2009 > Where the Wild Things Are

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Where the Wild Things Are

  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Release Date: October 16, 2009
  • MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language

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Where the Wild Things are Review - 21 December 2009

overall: 10

Christian-A's Avatar

Christian-A (movie profile | personal site)

Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:14 pm EDT
5 Movie Reviews

This is not a children's movie. Despite what you may think, looking at the posters, watching the trailers or even remebering the fact that this film was supposed to be based on a childrens book. Although it has some semblance of its book, there really isn't too much in common.

Now, you're probably wondering why this is not a film good for children. Well, put simply, the movie is dark, and raises questions that a child really should not concern themselves with. Now many kids films can be dark, take a Nightmare befre christmas for instance. The problem here is that we all expected something much more light hearted. This is a film that gives you no relief that whole way through. There is never really a particularily happy moment in the film, aside from the occasional tender scene.

I'm going to stray away from the orthodox way of writing for a moment, and tell you one of my own experiences. When I saw it, I did so with my parent and my younger sister of age 7. We all had read the book, and were interested in the film. Now I had previously heard that this was going to be a darker film, and that some kids during first screenings had gotten frightened. I didn't think much of this at the time, thinking that it would have a dark feel, something like Coraline and maybe some parts of the film may have been slightly scarier than others but as a whole, very child friendly. This was not the case and I was in for a big suprise. My sister, part way through the movie began to cry and become upset, not whiching to see anymore (I finished it mind you) and after the film, she began to ask us such questions brought up from the film such as, life, family and more specifially 'will the sun die?'. I'm not saying that it isn't good to be inquisitive, but really, a child shouldn't be scared nor asking these questions. It really does take away from their childish innocence.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is in no way a bad film. Infact it's the exact opposite, indicated by the large '10' above. If you take away the fact that this was supposedly made for children and was meant to be based of the famous book by Maurice Sendak, this is actually a really well made, and overal great film.
Although all of the creatures were puppets, suits and animatronics (made by the one and only Jim Henson's creature shop), they're incrediblly life like. I originally was under the assumption that it was all CGI, which was imaginable, but after I found out that it was puppets, I was blown away.

The story of the film is only very loosely based on the book it was based on, where Max feels like he is not understood and dejected at home, finally making him resorts to running away to a forest where he meets... well you know. Once he enters the land of 'wild things' Things already become much darker, both in themes and in colour. Max eventually becomes the creatures' king and desides to make some changes in his new home, trying to make everyone happy. He finds, however that being king is much harder than originally thought.

As mentioned previously (in my paragraph of why this is not a good childrens movie), this film contains many hidden contexts and morals. Many quite dark and depressing. Although it all becomes somewhat upsetting, it is also the horrible truth that it is all true. I'm not going to really give away much, but really this film discussed matters that we all think about at at least one point in our life.
This new kingdom of Max seems to be more of metaphor for Max's realisations about the world, rather than a simple fictional land of monsters.

Music and sound is always good, always fitting. The voices are perfect for each character, making you believe in them much more easily.
Overal, this is a great film with pretty much no flaws (other than the fact that this is marketed as a kids movie). the story is enthralling, right to the very end, the dark themes and backround is enjoyable, if somewhat disturbing and the characters are all fantastic, making this one of the best movies of the year.

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