Film Reviews

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

By • Oct 15th, 2009 •

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WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is to eight-year-olds:

what the Hubleys’ MOONBIRD was to five-year-olds.

What Polanski’s THE TENANT was to thirty-year-olds.

What Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT was to forty-year-olds.

And what Chaplin’s LIMELIGHT was to sixty-year-olds.

And you can throw in Peter Weir’s THE LAST WAVE, though I don’t know what age group that was for.

These films are portals through which people of the varying age-group’s psyches are externalized in a mixed reality/dream state, and it isn’t necessarily filtered through rational logic.

It is not what Fellini’s angst-ridden 8 1/2 or JULIET OF THE SPIRITS were to viewers facing mid-life-crisis. WILD THINGS and its soul mates aren’t overly experimental, or robust with the egos of their makers.

WILD THINGS is the real thing, given the wide birth of its creators’ respect, and thereby allowed to dwell, on celluloid, as an entity of its own.

I’m very fond of Jonze’s film. Its wondrous island monsters, with their unique wardrobe. Its clever, perceptive script which toys with the boy’s perceptions of the real world, haunting him even in this world of his own creation. The voice performances of James Gandolfini and the other actors, whose depth of feeling and subtlety are matched by the Muppet/Animatronic/CGI artists. The music of Carter Burwell and Karen Orzolek. The editing of James Haygood and Eric Zumbrunnen. The nightmarish sound design. And director Spike Jonze’s relentless faithfulness to his own core idea of what a fifteen-line children’s book should be expanded into.

For me, Catherine Keener’s major contribution to the film was as Associate Producer. Her performance is heartfelt but abbreviated. However her ongoing assistance with the production over several years was vital.

93 minutes is a suspicious length for the film. IMDB suggests that there is a 101 minute version somewhere. I sense that it was trimmed quite a bit, and that perhaps deleted scenes will turn up on DVD down the road. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing it again in IMAX. I couldn’t stop looking at those creatures’ faces; in IMAX, who knows, I might have to look away…

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3 Responses »

  1. I’m glad someone on this website isn’t a loon.

  2. Rock on, sane person. Solid review.

    Yo so when are they firing Victoria?

  3. well I am a sixty year old that does not relate to LIMELIGHT at all……Maybe RICH AND FAMOUS by Cukor…or THE DEVIL RIDES OUT by Fisher…that Charles Gray knew how to live god.dammit and so does Victoria….Get with the program Roy baby…..

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