In “Where The Wild Things Are,” director Spike Jonze has created a visually stunning film that’s both a faithful adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book and a moving meditation on childhood itself.
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In 1963, Maurice Sendak wrote and illustrated a children’s book that would become one of the most beloved classics of our time. Published by Harper & Row, “Where The Wild Things Are” told the story of a young boy named Max who, after being sent to bed without supper, sails away to a land inhabited by creatures known as the Wild Things. There, he is crowned their king and has a series of grand adventures before returning home to his mother’s supper waiting for him in his room.
In 2009, nearly fifty years after the book’s initial publication, director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) brought “Where The Wild Things Are” to the big screen. Jonze’s film adaptation is a visually stunning work that will undoubtedly delight children and adults alike. It is a perfect example of how a great story can be beautifully translated onto film.
The film opens with a boy, Max (played by Max Records) in his wolf costume, chasing his dog with a fork. After being sent to bed without supper, Max imagines sailing away to where the wild things are. His room turns into a jungle and he becomes the captain of a ship. A storm strikes and he washes up on an island where he encounters the wild things. The wild things make Max their king, and he leads them on various adventures. Eventually, Max gets homesick and returns home to find his mother has made supper for him.
The film features Max Records as Max, Catherine Keener as Connie, Mark Ruffalo as Douglas, Paul Dano as Alexander, Lauren Ambrose as Judith, Chris Cooper as Carol, Max Pfeifer as Ira, and Andrew Sensenig as Harold.
Weta Digital, the New Zealand-based visual effects company, was founded in 1993. The company has worked on a variety of films, including Avatar (2009), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), and Life of Pi (2012). For Where the Wild Things Are, Weta Digital created the CG creatures, environments, and digital doubles for the actors.
The film was shot entirely on location in Australia.
The film was released to mixed reviews, with some critics praising the visuals and acting, while others criticized the plot and character development.
The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Original Screenplay. It won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
Where The Wild Things Are: A Film Review
Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are” is an imaginative and visually arresting film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s well-loved children’s book. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, those who appreciate films that take risks and push the envelope will find a lot to like here.
The story follows Max (Max Records), a young boy who runs away from home after having a fight with his mother (Catherine Keener). He finds himself on an island inhabited by creatures known as the Wild Things, who make him their king. As Max settles into his new life, he begins to miss his old one and eventually decides to return home.
The film is Jonze’s first foray into live-action directing, and he does a commendable job. The visual effects are top-notch, and the film has a very dreamlike quality to it. Records gives a great performance as Max, and the rest of the cast – including James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, and Paul Dano – are also excellent.
“Where the Wild Things Are” is not a perfect film by any means, but it is an undeniably original piece of work. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those who appreciate films that take risks and push the envelope will find a lot to like here.
All in all, Where The Wild Things Are is an enjoyable and visually appealing film that will please fans of the book. However, it may not be the best choice for younger children, as it can be quite dark and intense in places.