Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are *SPOILERS*

This is filled with spoilers. If you wanted to see the movie baddly - you shouldn't read this.

Second. I didn't like this movie. If you did, you probably shouldn't read this.

Where the Wild Things Are… I will say off the bat I knew nothing of this movie beyond it was a children’s book that was supposed to be somewhat popular. People seemed relatively excited about it and I was curious. So I went with my mom to go see it. I left the movie with no major impressions about it other than wondering how that was even considered a kids book.

Things were jumpy. It was like having ADD. Your attention just ping ponged off of everything. The kid was a brat as well. I didn’t find myself endeared to him at all. He was selfish. He bore no consequences of his actions. And approached everything from the cruel nature of a child. Which I suppose was the purpose.

The terribleness and wildness of kids.

The movie starts with our ‘hero’ ripping around the house like an animal. Then shoot to outside where you see he seeks to get the attention and playtime of his older sister – who is busy getting her guy friends over and then going out with them. A fort he built to play for both of them is destroyed in the process. He returns to an empty house and throws a destructive tantrum, getting snow all over his sister’s room and things and destroying an item he had made for her.

Later his mother returns home and they clean up etc etc. Then you find the father isnt’ with them anymore. She’s a stressed and working mom. And she has him tell her a story and his story basically reveals how he thinks he’s not like everyone else, and has been abandoned.

Cut to the next day in school where they show him sitting in a class being painted a terrible tale to kids from a science teacher, talking about how the sun will die and there will be endless darkness. You see him seeming solitary though surrounded by mother and sister and later in the night he throws a tantrum to get his mother’s attention while she entertains a man. He bites his mother when she tells him he’s out of the control. And he runs away.

Finds a boat and somehow manages to find himself on the island “where the wild things are.” I’m not sure how much you can garner lesson wise from this. He lies to everyone – to save himself from being eaten. He encourages rough, destructive play housing as a way to cure loneliness and bring happiness. Perhaps the only thing he hits upon is how nice it is to sleep together in one giant pile. Indeed, that becomes a desire for the group through the rest of the movie.

You see glimmers of understanding about how his wild actions lead to hurting others. And how not reigning himself in and going mad when upset only pushes people away. He realizes he was wrong and tells the truth to his friend Carol who says being max isn't that much and max ends up deciding to go home. Carol finds some markings left for him by Max and has a change of heart - supposedly having understood how his actions affected others as well and that he was indeed loved.

Max returns home to find his mother sitting alone and it ends with her wordlessly watching him eat his food and him watching her as she falls asleep. No mention of time passing. No idea if it was a dream of his, or him actually being gone and slipping into another world. Maybe reading the book would explain that. But the movie was unclear and it felt disjointed.

Disturbing things that made me question how this was a child’s book:
1. Max finding the bones of previous kings.
2. The wildthings contemplating eating max.
3. A fight between Max and female wildthing accusing him of the very adult concept of unequal love and favoritism.
4. An incredibly brutal mudball fight that leaves a lot of people hurt.
5. Carol rips off the arm of his friend.
6. Max is actually swallowed by GT or TG – the sister figure of Carol – in order to hide him from Carol who is seeking to catch and eat him once he realizes Max had lied.

I left the movie feeling somewhat dissatisfied. I would have liked to see the Wildthings find happiness and not the last thing seen of them being them crying and watching a Max sail off. I would have liked to see the mother be a bit more disciplinary about running away and his actions while still embracing him and showing him love. Little kids arn't going to watch this movie and walk away thinking about the subtle lessons hinted at. I doubt they're going to watch this and understand max changes at all in the movie and learns anything. I had to really rethink things I saw myself before I was able to drudge up a suggestion as to character change.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed with anything in the movie really. I felt bad for the wild things who were left behind. But outside that scene, I wasn't emotionally moved. I like to leave a movie thinking about the things I liked about it and what I enjoyed. This was not a movie I was able to do that with.

Honestly, I wouldn't suggest seeing this to anyone until it comes out on video. Its not worth putting the money down. If you take little kids they're going to maybe laugh at 5-6 cute scenes. But I heard a lot of whimpering and tiny questioning voices to parents more in that movie than any other "children's movie" I've seen. Teens and up might enjoy it a bit for the darker elements. I give this movie a no.

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