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Friday, October 16, 2009

Movie Review: Where the Wild Things Are


"The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another..."

Spike Jonze was handpicked many years ago by “Where the Wild Things Are” author Maurice Sendak to direct the film adaptation of his 1963 ten sentence storybook. With Sendak acting as Executive Producer and Jonze along with McSweeney’s founder/novelist Dave Eggers penning the screenplay, Where the Wild Things Are was shaping up to be something very special. And then came delays, worrisome test footage, a studio change, reshoots, and Interweb rumors that the film would never be released. WTWTA, which began shooting way back in 2005, finally opens this Friday and it was well worth the wait.

The simple story of a normal but wild boy named Max being sent to his room by his mother for being too wild is still there, but it’s been given a 21st century back story. Max (Max Records), an imaginative nine year old, is of no interest to his teenage sister and finds that his working single mother’s attention is divided between work and her boyfriend. After a series of frustrations and a major tantrum while donning a wolf costume, Max flees his mother and winds up sailing to an island inhabited by giant creatures in need of a king to make them happy. What unfolds is a pensive, layered tale of childhood angst that is hauntingly beautiful in both look and feel. And Max, in many ways, is way less bratty than Max from the storybook. That kid was a jerk.