Review: ‘Where the Wild things Are’ falls short of expectations

By Dominick Delgadillo
Staff writer

Beloved children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak was adapted into a live-action movie and released in theaters nationwide on Oct. 16.

Those are the facts as I can best describe them without ruining my childhood because I have been trying to put this movie out of my mind since I saw it.

To say this film fails in all aspects would be a bit harsh, but to insinuate it was even a decent flick would be a blatant lie.

Where the book describes an adventure of imagination delivered in 10 sentences and adorable illustrations, the movie gives you 94 minutes of depressed, oversized puppets.

Carol, voiced by James Gandolfini, is the protagonist of the “Wild Things” and looks a bit like the horned, sharp-toothed teddy bear of the book. He explains his only likeness to the book’s character by saying, “Look at me, I’m big.”

It was almost as though the film’s director Spike Jonze was trying to convince the audience the movie and book were related without actually having the character turn to the camera and say, “No really, this is related to that book with the same title.”

For those still interested after the above warning, the movie is about a boy named Max who has serious issues with his neglectful mother. It starts off adorably enough with line illustrations over the company logos done by Max and shots of him building an igloo from a mound of shoveled snow.

We quickly see things take a turn for the worse when his mother has a “friend” over and Max feels like acting out and throws a big temper tantrum. The scene was a bit scary, so credit is due to Max Records, the child actor. He then runs off, gets in a boat and wakes up on the shore of an island where he meets the Wild Things.

We quickly learn the creatures are stupid, which was a misplaced device and failed attempt at humor, and that Max, while imaginative, is just an attention monger and a liar. About an hour later, you do care about the characters, but not in an adoring way, more in a way you feel empathy for them as you would for a child in a broken home.

Redeeming qualities for this waste of time were the computer-generated faces seamlessly placed on the Things’ furry faces and the previously mentioned child tantrum that finally made me understand this country’s fascination with antidepressants.

If you like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, then you should get the soundtrack. She wrote all of the songs and sings in most of them. However, don’t waste your money on this film, which attempts to bring a book to life but instead leaves adults bored and children confused or depressed.

Don’t waste your time or money. Don’t ruin your memories, if any, of the book. Don’t see “Where the Wild Things Are.”

The Guardsman