Where the Wild Things Are (PG)

Film

Family films

Where the Wild Things Are.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Dec 8 2009

One of the more curious aspects of recent Hollywood cinema has been a desire to make the conceptually outlandish psychologically mundane. ‘Yeah,’ Christopher Nolan invites us to think, ‘when you put it like that, I can see why a guy might dress up as a bat and fight crime.’ Peter Jackson doesn’t just want us to marvel at or pity a 20ft ape, he wants to unpack its abandonment issues. And recently, Wes Anderson granted a talking animal enough pop-psych introspection to acknowledge, ‘I have this thing where I need everyone to think I’m this quote-unquote Fantastic Mr Fox.’

Spike Jonze’s adaptation of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, Maurice Sendak’s beloved story about Max, a naughty boy in a wolf suit who sails away to an exotic jungle and meets giant beasties who make him their king, takes this tendency even further. In expanding the couple of dozen pages of Sendak’s picture-book to feature length, Jonze and his co-writer, Dave Eggers, approach atavistic fantasy with jarring formal and psychological realism. The forest, desert and mountain locations are real, as are the creature costumes (CGI facial expressions aside); beautifully photographed, often in handheld shots and magic-hour light, these landscapes and figures have a solidity, weight and detail that feels uncanny in an age of virtual imagining.

Lumbering around their island with satisfying heft, these weird beasts – hybrids of human, animal and mythical parts that faithfully realise Sendak’s drawings – have an oddly quotidian social dynamic and comically normal names: insecure Judith and Alexander (voiced by Catherine O’Hara and Paul Dano), more assured Ira and Douglas (Forest Whitaker and Chris Cooper), gruff but vulnerable Carol (James Gandolfini). Feeling less like a pack of monsters than a group of long-arrested adolescents left to their own devices, they entertain crushes, grudges and neuroses, pile gleefully into group projects, sustain minor injuries and go off in sulks, yearning for structure and security all the while. Think ‘Lord of the Flies’ on Fraggle Rock. Finding himself in loco parentis, Max must take emotional responsibility, and one of the film’s pleasures is young Max Records’s deft and unaffected portrayal of this shift.

It’s hard to guess whether many children will enjoy the movie. Ponderous at times, it could probably be 15 minutes shorter and lacks a real sense of mortal danger. There’s also sometimes an over-determined feel to the correspondences between the island adventure and Max’s real life with his mother (Catherine Keener) and sister, as laid out in the opening scenes. But ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ stands out for its unusually potent evocation of the timbre of childhood imagining, with its combination of the outré and the banal, grand schemes jumbled up with delicate feelings and the urge to smash things up.
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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Dec 11, 2009

Duration:

101 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

2.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:17
LiveReviews|32
2 people listening
mark

I can't believe anyone can truly like this film,I get the storyline but is that it?is that the whole meaning?what a waste of time.

Dylan

I found this film REALLY boring with no incentive or storyline to move these annoying, neurotic characters along, with scenes attempting to be emotive but actually trying too hard to be quirky. I didn't see any clear message come out of it at the end. Overall it was totally unengaging, it moved very slowly with pointless philosophy chucked in to try and appeal to adults. The CGI was pretty rubbish as well.

jojo

i hated it. it had no plot or storyline. dont even bother reading the back of the case. dont even give it to anybody ether. uuuugh

Rochelle Norlund

I really like this movie, because I like the designs of where the movie takes place and designs of the characters, which Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, Maurice Sendak, Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose and many more did wonderful jobs on this movie. I also like the scenes that has to do with Carol (Gandolfini) and Max (Records), because they both act like father and son figures to each other, while KW (Ambrose) acting like a mother figure to Max. I also like the tokens of affection both Carol and Max shared together, when they both with each other, which I believe that is so very sweet, cute, amazing and beautiful. I also wish there's going to be a sequel to this movie, so everyone will want to know on what will happen to Max, if he's going to go back to the island of the Wild Things, and what will happen to Carol, if he's going to apologize to Max for trying to eat him and if he wants to see Max again, so they could be a family once again. Maybe, just maybe, Carol and KW will still be together as a wonderful couple, have their first kiss with everyone and the audience watching (Mmmmmmmmmmm) and maybe have a baby together. Maybe, if the Wild Things are going to see Max on his island, maybe Carol could build a boat that will be big enough for all 7 Wild Things, so it will not sink, or be too weak for their weight, and they'll see Max, and live with Max and his family, and be part of his life and his family, so Carol could still be a father to Max, and Max could still be a son to Carol with the same cast of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE movie. What do you guys think for a sequel?

Rochelle Norlund

I really like this movie, because I like the designs of where the movie takes place and designs of the characters, which Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, Maurice Sendak, Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose and many more did wonderful jobs on this movie. I also like the scenes that has to do with Carol (Gandolfini) and Max (Records), because they both act like father and son figures to each other, while KW (Ambrose) acting like a mother figure to Max. I also like the tokens of affection both Carol and Max shared together, when they both with each other, which I believe that is so very sweet, cute, amazing and beautiful. I also wish there's going to be a sequel to this movie, so everyone will want to know on what will happen to Max, if he's going to go back to the island of the Wild Things, and what will happen to Carol, if he's going to apologize to Max for trying to eat him and if he wants to see Max again, so they could be a family once again. Maybe, just maybe, Carol and KW will still be together as a wonderful couple, have their first kiss with everyone and the audience watching (Mmmmmmmmmmm) and maybe have a baby together. Maybe, if the Wild Things are going to see Max on his island, maybe Carol could build a boat that will be big enough for all 7 Wild Things, so it will not sink, or be too weak for their weight, and they'll see Max, and live with Max and his family, and be part of his life and his family, so Carol could still be a father to Max, and Max could still be a son to Carol with the same cast of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE movie. What do you guys think for a sequel?

Azure

I'm surprised by how many people say this movie lacked a storyline. The story is of Max realizing that he had been a selfish brat all along, and developing enough maturity to return home. I thought the use of all the monsters representing facets of his personality, or influences in his life, was really well done. And the climax, where he ended up in the role of his mother, while Carol was an out of control brat, was very effective. I'll admit this was advertised very poorly, towards kids and all, because really it was a fairly deep film that no child could really comprehend.

Dinesh

This film is not suitable for kids yet it is aimed at children. I had to take my son out after 30mins as it raised serious issues (death, single parenting problems, mum bringing home boyfriend etc) that upset him. Don't do it to your child.. take them to see a proper film.

Johngault22

I loved it, I went into it knowing it wasn't a kids' film and as a 30 year old, it was really nice to be reminded what it was like to be a child and I also found the group dynamics really interesting to watch.

Johngault22

I loved it, I went into it knowing it wasn't a kids' film and as a 30 year old, it was really nice to be reminded what it was like to be a child and I also found the group dynamics really interesting to watch.

Cappybear

This sort of film isn't my cup of tea, but my wife wanted to see it. It seemed boring and pointless to me, with a particularly irritating central performance. However, my wife thought it was pretty good, hence the rating.

puffbother

A little refreshing but lacking depth ie a good story, bored if it was not for my 3 year old I would of left....also just tooo seventies for me, it reeked of the seventies..something I do not adore, still the monsters looked good but voices did not match...if only there was a good story it does not have to have gore etc but a story then it would have succeeded!

Lara70

DO NOT TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN TO SEE THIS MOVIE! It was absolutely horrid. I took my 8 yr old daughter; both of us being very eager to see this film that is being hailed as a 'modern masterpiece' and an 'instant classic'. We sat there stunned as this wonderful book was totally gutted and left hanging to dry. Nothing like the book at all. All the monsters were constantly arguing and mad at each other, everybody seemed like they were manic-depressive, running around feeling guilty, depressed, angry, sad, etc. The entire spectrum of negative emotions was thoroughly explored in this movie. I felt manipulated while watching this steaming turd. It felt like some strange government psy-op, designed to bring out the worst in people. There were hardly ANY happy moments throughout the entire movie; all the characters (both human and non-human) moped about sadly throughout the film; crying, wallowing in self-pity, anguish, depression, and self-inflicted psychological punishment. Several small children were crying in the theater because it was so sad and negative, I'm not kidding. I am so angry at being deceived. The ads for this film portray it as a positive, magical journey, when it was just the opposite. All it is is a flaming exercise in negativity and self-indulgent wallowing. The movie is jam-packed with subliminal messages and suggestions, all designed to make you feel bad about yourself and others. This one will make you feel awful inside for several hours after you leave the theater. NO REDEEMING QUALITIES WHATSOEVER. Nothing but a big shameful sad-fest. I wish I could get my money back. No, I wish I could go back in time and choose never to see it.

Kate

Beautiful film visually, but seriously lacking in plot and substance. I thought this was a bit scary and menacing for kids - a couple of littlies cried from fear at one point during my screening. I am scoring it 2 stars for beauty -that's it.

Chris

feels like a woody Allen film with the socially inept characters. Liked the atmosphere of the melancholic lighting but it only got 6/10 from my 9 year old son (and he was being polite). Probably more for the grown ups looking back at lost youth than kids looking for adventure and wild things.

jinka

I found this film beautiful, moving and funny, everything you want in a family film. Pixar have made so many brilliant family films they have turned it into a formula with CGI and talking inanimate objects being at the forefront. So I found it very refreshing to see WTWA. It adapted many aspects of the book. It had to because its an adaptation! Which is very ironic as was the subject mater of Jonze's last movie. the studios wanted him to compromise on many things. The melancholy and anger of Max being two of them. However, the book is about a child's imagination as a coping mechanism to a world he doesn't understand. WTWA embraces this. And with Sendak as producer and working along side the script I think people should stop being so precious about the changes made. It is dark at times yes, but we all know what happens to Bambi's mother. Its time to stop wrappign kids in cotton wool and show them a glimpse of the real world, no matter how wild it is.

aarti

went to see this film with great expectation .. but thought the film was complete rubbish.. no story line.. didnt feel or connect with any character, senseless plotline.. just didnt work. also a child who bites his mum.. and thinks its ok.... well, should be grounded... i wouldnt call that as ' a child who is not been given enough attention' was terribly disappointed with this film. cant believe time out gave it 4 starts.. what is with that??? give this film a miss. like seriously!!

A**

I loved & disliked this file in equal mesaures. I found it a bit long, it lacked a story & never really went anywhere. However it completely absorbed me & took me to a magical world which seemed totally beleivable. I though the boy who played Max was brilliant. The only thought that was running through my head whilst I sat in the nearly empty cinema last wednesday morning was that I would rather be tucked up in bed watching this on a rainy sunday morning.I suspect I will do just that when the DVD comes out. lastly, I would not say this is a kids film at all, much as I thought the wonderful 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' wasn't either. As a 32 yr old I am quite glad I can enjoy these child-like adult films.

Joe

worst movie ever, save ur money and watch something else. wouldnt give this film 1 star let alone the 4 stars its being rated.

fueldragster

Oh dear, where to begin. Short response, avoid this and save your money. I took my 3 to see it based on the trailer (I'd never read them the book) and, using various terms, we all thought it was a waste of time. Now I've heard of this book over the last (30?) years, mentioned on the radio, seen figures used in bookshops etc, and had assumed that it's fame was justified. I have since made a point of borrowing a copy and was surprised to find that the book is so flimsy a story that it never desrved to be filmed. Even with the extensions that the production team introduce (the sister that will no longer play, the single mum, the fort and mud-fight) it remains too weak. If you want to worship at the altar of Mr. Sendak be my guest but I simply do not understand how this acheived any success in the first place. As far as I can make out the Max in the book is a troublesome brat that quickly tires of his imagination and gets "homesick" for his supper, the extended version in the film just makes the charachter more obnoxious,. A depressing pile of tripe, I have not felt my family's time as utterly wasted for many a moon. If this could be given a negative rating I'd push the button, it deserves less than a "1".

Scott

Sometimes in life you should be able to enjoy things and not know why. I disagree with people that say this film is rubbish. True, the story doesn't develop a whole lot. True, there was no sea monster. True, there was some violence (but in good humour, there was no killing, or gore. They were throwing mud at at each other) The boy needed some attention, not a grounding. It was truely beautiful, and full of emotion and just fun to watch. My concentration lapsed in parts but this did not ruin the film, nor make me want to leave. I'd say go and watch it, and just see if you don't shed a tear at the end.

Long cat

I went to see this movie with great expectations from the trailer. Unfortunately the trailer was better than the actual movie. A pointless tedious rendition of a classic book. Dark menace and idiotic creatures and a kid who's behaviour should be grounded for a year. The movie didn't exactly go anywhere except disappoint. Give it a miss.

jo

Worst film I have ever seen! Don,t know how it was classified as PG. it was full of violence and menacing. Don't bother to see it!!

leel

I took my 5 year old - who loves the book. He was disappointed that the film was not true to the book - Max's room did not turn into a forest - he just ran out of the house and got into a boat. And there was no Sea monster as he sailed to the land where the wild things live. As a parent I thought this film was very dark and quite menacing and not at all like the well loved book. I kept looking at my son expecting him to be terrified and want to leave but he loved it! He found all the scary, quite violent parts funny - to my amazement! However I would not recomment it to my friends (it is a violent and scary film) and we won't be getting it on DVD!

Lauren

I was looking forward to this so much but came away completely disapointed. The little boy was completely selfish from start to finish- the whole point of the film is for him to realise that he's been selfish not to decide to go home purely for his own benefit. He was made into too much of a horror head at the beginning of the film- it's like they thought they needed to create a monster for us to understand the wild things- bad move- they should have kept it as it was in the book. The kid realises and comes home before it's an issue. In this film, the kid comes home after it's an issue and is a smug little git about it. The Wild Things are actually really menacing- I was constantly anxious the boy was going to be seriously injured... it would have scared me when I was little. Storyline was lacking but hey, the book isn't very long. The cinematography was lovely- I liked the costumes and the locations- for that I will give this two stars- the rest of it was not good.

Jess

I actually really enjoyed this. It didn't have much of a developed story line but the characters were all created so well and we really got an insight into Max's mind. It was a well made film featuring some awazing scenery and good characters. I enjoyed it a lot.

Pablo

rubbish. pure rubbish. Time Out, how much money the director gave you to rate this with 4 star?? people left the cinema after 40 minutes of movie. It is a waste of energy, money and I will never trust again on your reviews timeout. go and watch it to just see if I am right. psss.