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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not what it should have been, 27 June 2010

Before I saw this movie I had heard two conflicting reviews. One was good, one was bad. I prepared myself for a bad movie, but went in hopeful. I can't say it was a bad film. It wasn't. In fact I thought it was good. What I didn't like was the direction it took.

Max is a lonely kid. His sister pays little attention to him. His mother is busy and has a boyfriend. The father is not in the movie. There is no explanation as to the father's absence, but it is not needed.

Max acts out because he feels that his mother is not paying enough attention to him when she brings the boyfriend over for dinner. His actions lead to him running away and ending up in the land of the wild things. Just like in the book he becomes king of the wild things. After that the story takes a turn for the depressing.

The wild things all have issues. One was lonely, one felt he was being ignored, and still another gets angry at Max because she thinks he's playing favorites.

The film is well made. The shots are beautiful, the wild things are magnificent and Max was well acted. I believed his performance and felt for him. The problem I had with it was that it was depressing. It stated certain truths, but left me unfulfilled. The sadness that there was in the movie didn't exist in the book. The film was based on a children's book, but it is for an older audience even though some children could relate to some of the situations.

While I think it was a good film generally, it was a bad adaptation. It lost the spirit of the book. There are many serious films about the problems and challenges of childhood. I don't think this film should have been one of them. It should have been a film about a child acting out, running into a fantasy world, realizing his mistakes, and coming home. It was a movie about a lonely child who tries to help a bunch of whiny, mopey, sad, monsters.

Chunhyang (2000)
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
An unusual movie experience, 18 October 2005

This is a Korean film telling the story of two lovers torn apart by class. The son of a governor and the daughter of a courtesan. It has the air of a fairytale and is a very good film.

It may be difficult for some people to get into the film in the beginning if you are not familiar with pansori. Pansori is a centuries old Korean form of storytelling in which a storyteller sings the story while a drummer drums and makes short vocal sounds or words of encouragement. It is initially jarring for those of us who mostly watch American and European film, but stick with it. I first saw this in a film class and it was among two films that I wrote about for class and liked so much that I purchased on my own once the class ended.

As the film begins the viewer is placed in the position of someone watching a pansori performance. From here the film transitions from the world of Chunhyang to the pansori audience. Part of the enjoyment of the film comes from watching the reactions of the pansori audience to the story. It is akin to being in a movie theater and sharing the same experiences with everyone else watching the film.

Aside from the format, the story itself is enchanting, full of love, loyalty, and courage. The acting is very good and the actors are not bad looking themselves. The pansori performance is a song of the story so it has some poetic qualities that don't necessarily push the story forward, but are enjoyable if you are patient. All in all it is a look into Korean culture and storytelling that not many films from America, Europe, or the rest of the world do for their own cultures. Most films today just stick to the basic narrative design or are pretentious and abstract. This one creates a new experience for anyone who is willing to give it a chance.