Oct 212009
Authors: Laura James

Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the beloved children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” was wildly disappointing./

The story, which follows an unruly little boy who imagines a world full of “wild things” after being sent to bed early without his dinner, has been transformed into this depressing and ultimately unnecessary movie.

In the beginning of the film, the audience meets Max, a seemingly disturbed boy who doesn’t elicit much sympathy from the viewer./ Max runs around the house screaming and terrorizing the family dog, coming across as a nightmare of a child.

Distraught after his sister’s friends destroy his igloo amid a snowball fight, Max destroys his sister’s bedroom in a fit of rage. Later that evening, another episode of rage causes Max to run away after biting his mother like a rabid dog.

This whole scene makes the viewer question whether or not the director wanted us to believe Max has psychological problems.//

With little explanation where he is after running away, Max travels to an imaginary land by sea./The transition here is choppy at best and seriously lacks definition.

After making landfall, Max discovers the “wild things,” whom, like Max, are also involved in a personal crisis due to the departure of a family member./

The wild things promptly crown Max as king and childishly predict that Max will solve all of their problems.

These wild things come across as human caricatures./ They have very adult problems, with childlike ambitions and attitudes./Like Max, they get violent and loud when they are angry and have very little liking for authority. If I were a young child, I would have found these creatures terrifying./

This film seems like one more in a long string of films, fashion trends and musical styles that are throwbacks to the ’90s. Everything old is new again, and this film is not exempt from hopping on the nostalgia bandwagon./The film was made for adults, not children, and that’s one area where the film makes a mistake.//

The flick is visually very stimulating, but this imaginary world is quite frightening./If Max realizes anything at all, it’s that, even in your imagination, people are screwed up.

Movie reviewer Laura James can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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