Where the Wild Things Are ***1/2 out of **** Spill Rating: FULL PRICE!
Most of the time, I don't write reviews until a couple days after I see it. I like to process a film and contemplate on it before I give a final analysis. Sometimes, I will feel different about a film a week later resulting in a more positive reaction or a negative one. Where the Wild Things Are was one of those films that as soon as it was over, I knew I needed a while to meditate on it. The movie has split critics right down the middle, one side calling a deep and complex masterpiece while the others side has called it hollow and boring. After two weeks of absorbing the film, I have to lean towards the former. I loved the movie. I feel that its complex, beautiful but also overlong and hollow at the same time.
Where the Wild Things Are is based off the 16-sentence children's book of the same name. Its won many awards and is considered to be one of the best books of all time. However, translating it to screen seems like an impossible task. the book is only 16 sentences so how is someone going to stretch it out to feature length? Enter Spike Jonze, director of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, two masterpieces that gave me more than enough faith in him to adapt the book.
Max (Max Records) is a normal ten year old. He's happy,sad,loyal,disobedient, and an imagination of his own. One day, he runs away and travels to the mystical island of the Wild Things, a place full of interesting creatures that befriend Max and make him their king. Max is ecstatic about his new position but soon realizes that ruling a kingdom is a lot harder than it seems to be.
That is the movie in a nutshell but its deeper than that. There are many themes and conversations that are layered within the film. Here's a question that will decide whether you like this or not. Do you think any of David Lynch's films are deep and complex (especially inland Empire) or just a hollow film filled with random themes just to hide the fact there isn't a story.
I can't pinpoint on what I felt was incredibly deep in the film here but if you pay close enough attention while watching it, you can see what I'm talking about. Take the monsters for example. They each have different personalities which are just manifestation of Max's different moods. Children go through many mood swings at times. They can be sad,happy, and angry all within a few seconds.
All philosophical analysis aside, Where the Wild Things Are is an extremely well-made film. Spike Jonze accomplished all the things he needed to do with the story. He created the mystical world of the Wild Things beautifully, got one of the best performances out of child actor in any film with Max Records and made a deep film out of a 16-page book.
If you didn't like the film, I'm not going to go off on you. I can see why you wouldn't like it and I won't try to change your opinion. Listen to the Spill Crew's review of the film to get the opposite opinion of me. I felt Where the Wild Things Are was a fantastic film. The only problem I had with it was the length. It started to drag on towards the end and if it was cut down by ten minutes, I would have given it four stars and a seat in my masterpiece club.