Where the Wild Things Are Review: It’s A Growler

December 9, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

WTWTA300WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: On General Release Friday 11th December

I suppose I should reveal a little secret about the world of OTB.

Sometimes we all like to gather behind our local Cineplex (usually by the bins, for the atmosphere) and enjoy tearing chunks out of each other’s most recent articles or X Factor preferences. (Just tell Sean that Jedward are s**t and he’ll knock your block off, mate).

The uniform’s strictly wife beaters and we girl-slap each other until someone breaks a nail, which usually results in crying and pant-wetting and running with flailing limbs into the brutal night. The first rule of Critic Club is: no one talks about Critic Club. The second rule of Critic Club is: don’t expect too much of a film, as you’ll only be disappointed.

Where The Wild Things Are was supposed to be good, but I tell you this my friends – the trailer that promised hope, and laughter and fuzzy feelings as you depart the cinema is full of putrid, stinking lies. LIES I TELL YOU!

Ok, I’ve remembered to breathe now, I just really wanted to love this film. It started well – the first scene captured the joy of childish mental tantrums as the audience was gently ushered into main character Max’s isolated, angry existence. He demands attention and lashes out at the people he loves the most – his mother and sister. As a pro-pouter and serial shouter, I totally feel his pain – being part of a family is tough and it’s more tempting to run away from a problem than face the consequences of your actions.

In escaping his seemingly distracted family, Max stumbles upon a hairier, scarier replacement and fools his beastly new companions into making him their King. Things start well – after all, who wouldn’t want to spend every night sleeping in a giant pile of snarling fluff – but Max quickly learns that playing the patriarch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Wars hurt (even pretend ones), lies eventually unfold and keeping promises is far more complicated than making them.

There were cinematographic touches of Spike Jonze brilliance: the vast monster fort, and Carol’s matchstick mountains. But these tiny flutters of wonderment were greatly overshadowed by the darker aspects of the film. For me, the character of Judith was the biggest destructive force, whose tar-hearted sour grapes quickly sent the film spiralling into a depressing climax, and it’s all Max can do to run back to the safety of home.

The problem is, you can’t run from life. Child Max can live in denial, but I fear for the man he will grow into. Ultimately it was too bleak for my taste. I like my fairy tales with a side-order of smiles, thanks.

Sally McIlhone

Check out what happened when we met Spike Jonze this week…

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  1. Hi there says:

    i feel this is a very confused review… At the beginning you seem to suggest there is something technically lacking in the film… But then at the end your only direct criticism was that the plot isn’t to your taste… you wanted it to be friendlier…??