Last night, on its second day of big screen release, I went to the theater to see “Where the Wild Things Are”. I chose to go do this so that I could have a relaxing and inexpensive Saturday night. I chose to go do this instead of traveling to and from NYC to see two of my most favorite bands, Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth play together at the Nokia Theater with about 10 of my old, dear, music-loving, dance-feigning college friends. In terms of ‘enjoying my Saturday night entertainment’ I most certainly made the wrong decision.
On a scale of 1-10, I give “Where the Wild Things Are” a 2.5 or 3. If my movie companion had agreed, I would have walked out of the film less than 45 minutes into it, but when I suggested the idea of leaving early he wanted to stay, so stay we did…even though “enjoy”, we really did not.
The story line was wicked depressing. It’s supposed to be a film for children, but the plot is so emotionally intense it should be rated at least PG-13. It’s pretty much a film targeted at troubled children who are having a difficult time coping with a parent’s divorce. However, the story line did nothing to raise said child’s spirits, it did not comfort the child or teach the child an invaluable lesson that “things will be alright in the end.” Although, the film did focus on the idea that children can use their imagination to escape the reality of a world they already hate at such a young age.
The movie displayed a boisterous little boy, Max, who wrecks havoc and runs around out of control torturing his family and pet dog in what I thought was a raccoon costume, but apparently was supposed to be a wolf.
I understood that Max felt neglected and unloved as a result of his parents’ divorce, but my lord, I hope I never have a child like that. He was always screaming and shouting and running and breaking things…all in that silly costume that really couldn’t have made him feel superior to anyone else. It was just a fluff ball outfit for 4 year-olds, but apparently he liked it. Whatever floats your boat, Max.
One night Max got mad at his mom and ran away from the house. His mom must have taken him sailing a lot in the past, because Max ran to a body of water (which looked to me like an ocean) hopped into somebody’s sailboat and sailed on out into the night for several days with no food or fresh water…braving storms and riding the waves…all in that precious little costume. Eventually he reached an island, miraculously survived his boat being thrown around in rough, gigantic waves, landed the boat on some rocks, was smart enough to think to pull to boat over to calm water and dock it so that when he was ready, he could sail on back home. A very intelligent character and sailor, that Max.
As depicted in the 1963 children’s picture book by Maurice Sendak, Max finds some large animal/monsters on the island. The animal/monsters agree to make Max their king if he promises he can prevent them from ever feeling sad or lonely.
Max stayed in the community for multiple nights, orchestrated the building of a large group home and unsuccessfully tried to help the animal/monsters cope with their mental issues and come to an understanding that relationships don’t always work out, times and situations always change whether you like it or not and life, unfortunately, isn’t one big joy ride.
Eventually Max decided he was ready to go back home, re-traced the exact route he took the get to the island and ran back to his mom who probably hadn’t slept a wink since Max was gone and developed at least 15 gray hairs because of the situation…though I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to appear as though Max had been gone for several days or only a few hours or even minutes.
There was never any uplifting moment in the film, and the second it ended I jumped out of my seat, more than ready to leave. The animation of the characters was well-done, the acting was professional and the camera shots were to my liking. I heard the young woman in front of me say, “That was awesome!” after the film ended, but I really have to disagree. My movie companion commented that the girl who thought it was awesome was laughing at scenes the entire movie that weren’t even funny. “As far as a plot was concerned, it was snooze-ville 99,” he said.
I would not recommend this movie.