MOVIES: "Where the Wild Things Are"

I really don’t know what to think of it. I mean, how in the world do you make a movie of the children’s book by the same title? Every adaption of a children’s book I’ve seen has been horrible, so I don’t have high expectations for this film.

Usually I like children’s movies, but this one looks ‘iffy’ to me. I just don’t like those creatures. They remind me of H.R. Puffnstuff, if anyone here is old enough to remember that children’s show. Like something from the 70’s.


I had the book as a child and loved it!

But you’re right. It may not translate into a very good movie, and if it does there may need to be some significant storyline additions as the book was pretty short. I hope they don’t ruin it.

I’ve been wondering how you take a book with 9 sentences in it and make a 2 hour movie.

Maurice Sendak said all he had to say in the book… and it became a classic. He must be doing a half-gainer…

I just saw the movie and I will not be taking my children to see the movie. IMHO, the book is about the power of the imagination of a child. The movie turns the unruly child from just throwing a tamptrum at the dinner table to being upset at seeing his divorced mother have a guy friend over for dinner. The movie to me seemed to try to highlight the effects of divorce on children and the family. It was sad and depressing. It did have some funny parts, but the overall affect on my mood was sad and depressing.

Ah, but it does translate into a good movie, maybe even a very good movie.

It is not, however, a kids’ movie. Don’t let the PG rating fool you into thinking the average preteen will enjoy this film. It deals with an emotionally disturbed boy in a surprisingly mature manner.

Where the Wild Things Are is not a fun film, although parts of it are fun. It is not a magical film, although parts of it are magical. It is not even ultimately a uplifting, heart-warming film, despite it ending on a strong note about the long-suffering nature of conditionless love.

All that said, I took my kids to see it yesterday, and I don’t regret a minute of the experience.

– Mark L. Chance.

Well, they made a two-hour ballet out it!

My daughter stage managed this back when the company first created it. It was “wildly” popular!

I haven’t seen it. With that said, I heard a review of it on Relevant Radio where the guy said you have to approach it as it’s own piece and then it’s fairly good but if you’re looking to capture the book, it fails.

Surprised there doesn’t seem to be a topic on this yet.

Anyway, saw this movie yesterday. I have to say I was very pleased with it. I never read the book as a kid, and when I first saw the trailer for this movie I was incredibly skeptical based on the fact that I didn’t think the ridiculous looking monsters would fit in well to a live-action movie. Oh boy was I wrong.

The monsters were actually probably the best part of the film. Each monster represents a certain emotion that children feel, whether it be anger, loneliness, shyness, etc. Each one of them is very likable, and some are just downright funny (the goat especially). And the visual aspect of the monsters was also done superbly. The faces were so much more expressive than I thought they would be. After a while you really forgot how ridiculous these monsters looked as you just got swept away into their characters.

The main character was played wonderfully I think. Definitely a great performance for such a young kid.

The main complaint people have been making about the movie is that it’s too sad, and not for children. I personally don’t think it’s too sad. I think it shows childhood like it is for a lot of kids. However I will say the film should not be seen by children. Honestly I don’t see anyone under the age of 16 really getting anything out of this film. I repeat this is NOT a childrens movie. Not because of content necessarily, but because of themes and the intensity of the film (as well as it perhaps being frightening for kids). Think of this as more of a film designed for older people to watch and reminisce about childhood.

Honestly the only real complain I have about the film is that occasionally the camera shook way too much and you couldn’t tell what was going on. I know that’s the “in” thing with camera techniques, but it annoys me a lot. I absolutely adore the handheld camera look, but not when it’s so shaky you can’t even enjoy the scene.

Aside from that though, this film is wonderful, borderline amazing. Of all the films i’ve seen in my life, this film captures what it is to be a child better than all the rest. HIghly recommended.

  1. Not for young kids. Definitely not a kids movie. Several people got up and left the theater when I saw it. I know the phrase “directed by Spike Jonze” should raise red flags, like “directed by Quentin Tarantino” or “directed by Martin Scorcese,” but I think this is Spike Jonze’s first movie that wasn’t rated R, so it’s not like the casual moviegoer would know who he is: definitely not for young kids - it is very violent, even for a PG.

  2. Too much “New Age”-ism, not subtle at all… I downloaded the song “Love Is All” a few months ago when it was a promo mp3, didn’t realize how prominently the song plays in the movie, and how much the screenplay drops in little warm and fuzzy “New Age” words like “non-judgmental” (those two owls?).

  3. I didn’t like the soundtrack at all. Lo-fi indie-rock worked for “Juno.” It didn’t work here.

  4. To its credit, the movie is inherently “anti-divorce.” You look at the Max’s domestic situation, and it’s no wonder the kid’s more than a little passive aggressive.

I thought this film was excellent as well. I don’t have children, and I went with my friends who also really enjoyed the film. Spike Jonze is fantastic. The child actor did a great job of displaying so many emotions, and I thought the film did a nice job of dealing with the topic of childhood emotions.

I confess to not remembering whether, as a child, I was read Where the Wild Things Are. Perhaps I was, but perhaps not. In any event, the nine sentences penned by Maurice Sendak (almost fifty years ago) have since been put to screen by Spike Jonze.

Max is a lonely eight year old boy who inhabits two seemingly different worlds. The first he shares with his mother and his sister, both of whom incur his wrath in the opening few scenes. After incidents with each, Max, decked out in a wolf costume, runs away. Emotionally, he enters into the second world he inhabits, and here exist the wild things.

It's an excellent film, and I contain a larger review of the work over at my blog Musings which you are more than encouraged to follow and begin to converse about, but for here (or there) I was basically wondering if people saw it and what their impressions were.

Kelly Wilson

as always (excepting Gone w t Wind), the Book was FAR better than the movie!! (I disliked the movie so much I had to turn it off before it was over...):shrug:

I’m not sure how fair the comparison is. The Book is nine sentences (I think). The movie is 101 minutes. You might not have liked the film (can I ask why?), but author Maurice Sendak, I read, did.

I guess that’s where the problem lay for me- trying to make a two hour film from a nine line book (although they did a pretty good job of creating a movie from the poem “the man from snowy river”…). I guess it was their portrayal of Max that I didn’t care for. And being that it was one of my favorite childhood stories, I already had a mental movie of it that I played in my own head, which hollywood didn’t match…
Anyways, I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong. You asked for impressions so I was just sharing my opinion that I didn’t like the movie.

Fair enough. Thanks for elaborating. Curiosity motivated my question…


I personally saw it and found it a sad movie for one reason. He chose to live, I’m not sure if it was supposed to be real or not but still, in a world without his family. I find it sad that he would choose to run away, but thats just me. I found the ‘wild things’ were very unrealistic, but other than that it was ok.

Hello Misguidedyouth,

You're talking about the boy Max, and can I assume you meant he chose to "leave"? You wrote "live."

Perhaps follow my link to the larger review I offer at my own blog. I think the line Max drops to one of the wild things, when he says "I wish you guys had a Mom," is easy to overlook, but holds the key to the reality Max has departed from, and perhaps indicates his readiness to return...

Max goes back, remember. In any event thanks for commenting...

Musings @

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