Thursday, December 17, 2009
Darkmatters Review: Where The Wild Things Are
Dir. Spike Jonze
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
ONE WORD SUMMATION: hairytherapy
“Happiness isn't always the best way to be happy…” so sayeth one of the ‘Wild Things’ in the lavish big screen adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s children’s fantasy which has sold almost 20million copies world wide.
This is the bittersweet tales of Max, a nine year old kid whose mischievous antics drive his single mother to her wits end. Max (newcomer Max Records) likes to dress up in a wolf costume and misbehave when he can’t handle what’s going on around him, this is brought to a head when his mum (Catherine Keener) starts giving her attention to new boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo). In frustration Max runs away from home, jumps into a dingy and sails to the land of the Wild Things – as you do… The Wild Things are fearsome-looking monsters, but inside they are insecure and struggling to cope with the unruly behaviour of one of their number called ‘Carol’.
In this fantasy world which doubles as a map of the boy’s troubled mental space - full of inhospitable deserts and eerie forests -Max shows no fear of the rampaging Wild Things (whose actions seem to parallel those of the people in his life). After striking up a relationship with the big furry beasties, Max is soon made their king – and declares that they should start a “wild rumpus". Things begin well enough with mud fights and destruction of property but before long he finds himself lonely and homesick in the presence of the freaky Wild Things.
Director Spike ‘Being John Malkovich’ Jonze has come a long way from the days he was making cool cult music videos such as the Beastie Boys’
‘Sabotage’. Where the Wild Things Are is a bold and brilliant movie that takes the rich imagination of the book and brings it to eye popping life. The deeper levels of correlation between Max’s real world and his ‘wild’ imagination is nicely handled – as is Max’s emotional journey back to his family.
Where the Wild Things Are is a wonderful outpouring of fantasy, don’t go expecting anything more than a extended play / therapy session – the plot of the book was only a few pages long. But it’s a trip worth taking whatever age you are, it’s time to connect to your inner wild thing!
Darkmatters final rating / out of 10: öööööööö (8 – get in touch with your inner 'thing')
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Action 7 (simple and sparring)
Style 8 (fantastical - really captured and built on the book)
Babes 3 (no, move along these hairy freaks are not hot)
Comedy 6 (some nicely observed humour - "that was my favourite arm" = best line!)
Horror 7 (scary for kids, the 'things' are weird looking!)
Spiritual Enlightenment 7 (there's one in all of us... let it out!!)