Where are the Wild Things?
Teen Critic Underwhelmed by Adaptation of Sendak Book
Friday, October 16, 2009
"Where the Wild Things Are" (opening October 16 throughout San Diego) follows Max (Max Records), a rambunctious and sensitive young boy who is always seeking adventure. Max leaves his home after a fight with his Mother (Catherine Keener). He finds a boat by the sea and sails until he lands upon an island inhabited by giant creatures that befriend him and know him as "king".
After growing up with this lovable classic children's book by Maurice Sendak, anything trying to interpret it will always just fall short -- as was with this movie even though the book wasn't long and left little room for error, The movie changed so much of the story such as the way the wild things are interpreted. I expected them, like in the book, to be fun and lovable creatures, But the way the wild things acted in the film made them seem so irritable with lives so full of drama. It's expected in the movie that Max gets away from home to a place where he can express his adventurous imagination and be care-free, but it isn't like that at all in the film. Whether it's the drama between two of the wild things, Carol (James Gandolfini) and KW (Lauren Ambrose); or the way that Judith (Catherine O'Hara) doesn't seem to like Max, and seems to think that he chooses favorites and that his opinions are one-sided -- the film just didn't match the book.
Also, the film was very depressing and sad, which if you read the book it's supposed to be an uplifting story about exploring your imagination. But I don't think the film portrays it that way. Although the film's tone seemed to be one of depression, it did have its adventurous moments, its funny moments, and also its very beautiful moments. The director Spike Jonze did very well working with Max Records along with all the actors to help them put on a great performance. The problem was that the movie seemed like such a drama instead of an adventure film. I was just completely unprepared for the radical and melancholy directions in which the film went, so it was very underwhelming for me.
"Where the Wild Things Are" is rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language.
Kevin Doughty is a senior at Mount Miguel High School. After high school he plans to go to film school in Los Angeles to become a director. He says, “Being a teen critic is great because it gives me a chance to watch films and learn how to critique the acting and cinematography. which will really help my career.”