A young boy named Max has an active imagination, and he will throw fits if others don't go along with what he wants. Max - following an incident with Claire (his sister) and her friends, and following a tantrum which he throws as a result of his Mother paying more attention to her boyfriend than to him - runs away from home. Wearing his wolf costume at the time, Max not only runs away physically, but runs toward a world in his imagination. This world, an ocean away, is inhabited by large wild beasts, including one named Carol who is much like Max himself in temperament. Instead of eating Max like they normally would with creatures of his type, the wild things befriend Max after he proclaims himself a king who can magically solve all their problems.Written by
Initially, Warner Brothers was so unhappy with Spike Jonze's final movie (it was much less family friendly than they imagined) that they wanted to re-shoot the whole $75 million project in early 2008. Jonze was eventually given some more time and money by the studio in order to make the final product satisfying to both the studio and him. See more »
When Max says, "Wow!" when he sees Carol's world built from sticks, an earpiece is visible in Max Records' ear. See more »
Hey, Claire. Wanna see something great?
[on the phone]
Who else was there?
It's an igloo! I made it.
Yeah, my brother.
I can't. We're supposed to go to my dad's that weekend.
The snowplows left some snow across the street, and I dug a hole into it.
Go and play with your friends.
See more »
The logos for Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, and Village Roadshow Pictures are covered with Max's scribblings. See more »
Imaginative children's films like Where the Wild Things Are can be more dramatically satisfying than adult, independent, or international films. The child-like sentiments and ideas are adult in streamlined, minimalist ways that deliver truths about humanity without compromising the joy of storytelling.
Max (Max Records)) is a bratty little boy whose sister, Claire (Pepita Emmerichs), ignores him and mother (Catherine Keener) is distracted by a job and new boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo). Max creates his own world of beasties who have a surfeit of humanity, outsized animal hybrids who seem to want just what Max wants: family.
As these gullible lunks accept Max and make him king, based on his heroic bragging, Max sees how difficult it is to rule in harmony when his best shots are only building a fort and inciting a clod-throwing war. The parallel to President Obama's eloquent promises and multiple delays (He can't even receive the Nobel without reservations about his underachieving) is apparent, although Maurice Sendak couldn't have known that allusion when back in 1963 he created the picture book on which the film is based. Yet JFK could have served as a reference.
Just as interesting are the costume/animations, as if the creatures had stepped right out of Sendak's pages (much credit to Jim Henson Co's Creature Shop). As well as those inspired voices: for instance, James Gandolfini as Carol perfectly channels Tony Soprano's charisma into an unforgettable mass of brute and softy. However, Max Records as Max is not memorable except for an angelic face.
Director Spike Jonze is the right director to take us on Sendak's imaginative ride—after all, his Adaptation and Being John Malkovich are classics of creativity and wild-ass wit. Thankfully he and Sendak don't linger on the inevitably sappy Max return to family. But then, back to family is what both Max's dreams and reality are all about.
Carol: It's going to be a place where only the things you want to happen, would happen.
Max: We could totally build a place like that!
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