in Review

Born to Be Wild

Where the Wild Things Are

The long awaited adaptation of a children’s classic, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are has finally been brought to the silver screen. Said to be “un-filmable” for many years, director Spike Jonze finally took on the project in 2005 and well, here we are now.

I think we all know the story of Max, a rambunctious kid who after being sent to his room travels to a fantasy world inhabited by all sorts of “wild things”. Personally I’ve never been a big fan of the book and if you ask me, it wouldn’t be the success that it is if it didn’t have such great illustrations. I think it’s the book’s message or lack thereof that’s over the years, left me uninterested. Something about overcoming anger and your emotions but nothing that deeply philosophical. Thus it’s on-screen adaptation struggles in what it wants to say. There’s a lot of conflict and problems going on but it feels unorganized and the lack of resolution only drags it down further.

Though I feel fairly let down by the somewhat bland plot I can’t deny that this film looks incredible. The beautiful cinematography truly takes you to another world and the Wild Things are stunning creations, seamlessly blending CGI with good ol’ fashioned puppet suits from who else but the Jim Henson Workshop. The whimsical score by Karen O and Carter Burwell also helps set the mood, though I’ll have to blow my brains out if I here one person talk about “Oh man I got to buy that soundtrack I’m so cool and hip, blah, blah, blah.”

I think the main problem is that Spike and company didn’t take enough risks in attempting to stray from the original story. Usually I prefer film adaptations of books to remain loyal but here I would of liked to see something different. There’s really not a lot to work with regarding the source material (It’s like what, ten sentences long?) so I’d say this should of been treated as an opportunity to take the story in a different direction. Instead we ended up with nothing more than some pleasant eye candy for the whole family.