Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

3.1 28
Director: Spike Jonze

Cast: Max Records, Catherine Keener

     
 

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Director Spike Jonze brings Maurice Sendak's beloved children's book to the big screen with the help of hipster icon Dave Eggers, who teamed with Jonze to adapt the screenplay. A mixture of real actors, computer animation, and live puppeteering, Where the Wild Things Are follows the adventures of a young boy named Max (Max Records) as he enters the world of theSee more details below

Overview

Director Spike Jonze brings Maurice Sendak's beloved children's book to the big screen with the help of hipster icon Dave Eggers, who teamed with Jonze to adapt the screenplay. A mixture of real actors, computer animation, and live puppeteering, Where the Wild Things Are follows the adventures of a young boy named Max (Max Records) as he enters the world of the Wild Things, a race of strange and enormous creatures who gradually turn the young boy into their king.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Obviously, a children's book as short as Maurice Sendak's award-winning Where the Wild Things Are requires a great deal of fleshing out in order to exist as a full-length movie. Luckily, director and co-screenwriter Spike Jonze makes the movie his own by expanding the book's universal themes about a boy learning to work through feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and fear. We meet that boy, Max (Max Records), in a hilarious opening scene where he tears through his house chasing after the family pet while growling like a monster. He proceeds to have a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, where his older sister's friends break his homemade igloo and he has to eat dinner with his mother (Catherine Keener) and her new "friend" (Mark Ruffalo). Eventually, Max becomes so overwhelmed he throws a tantrum, runs out of the house, evades his mother's pursuit, and eventually finds himself alone in some trees. After a primal scream, he discovers a boat and sails across churning seas to an island inhabited by the wild things. Although they first threaten to eat Max, he persuades them that he is their king, and convinces them to build a large fort where they can all live together. Unlike the book, the wild things in the movie have names and distinct personalities: there's Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini), the creature who seems most in need of having Max be the leader; KW (Lauren Ambrose), who longs to separate from the others; the wise, bird-like Douglas (Chris Cooper); Alexander (Paul Dano), the baby of the group; the neurotic Judith (Catherine O'Hara); and Judith's gentle and measured mate, Ira (Forest Whitaker). For adults, it's easy to see how the different creatures represent different aspects of Max, but the screenplay, co-written with Dave Eggers, never talks down to the audience by making the subtext explicit -- they respect the fantasy world far too much to be so crass. And the physical world of the wild things is unlike anything in recent memory. Jonze shoots the landscape in a way that makes the terrain tactile -- it certainly looks like a real place with trees and deserts -- and the creatures themselves are a seamless combination of old-fashioned puppetry and state-of-the-art special effects. If he were alive, it's not hard to imagine Jim Henson praising both the creature work and the entire project as a whole. Of course, the cast also has a great deal to do with making the wild things register as genuine three-dimensional characters. Gandolfini sounds like he has a permanent lump in his throat that's keeping either tears of sadness or screams of anger from bursting out at any moment, Cooper and Whitaker are soothingly warm and calm, and Dano speaks in a heartbreaking little-boy-lost voice that amplifies Alexander's feelings of loneliness. And that is the point of the whole story -- these mysterious beasts verbalize all of Max's difficult emotions and force him to respond so that he learns how to handle them. While that description may make the whole thing sound like little more than a kiddie therapy session, Jonze never hits you over the head with what it all means, making it possible for you to read into the film whatever you choose. And let's be clear that Jonze aims the film at every age group, not just children. This is a "family film" in the best possible sense -- it is that rare movie that parents and kids can see together, and talk about at great length afterward.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/02/2010
UPC:
0085391189930
Original Release:
2009
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:41:00
Sales rank:
799

Special Features

Series of "Where the Wild Things Are" shorts by Lance Bangs; "The Absurd Difficulty of Filming a Dog Running and Barking at the Same Time"; "The Crew Pranks Spike"; "Vampire Attack: The Max Records Short"; "The Kids Take Over the Picture."

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Max Records Max
Benicio Del Toro Voice Only
Catherine Keener Mom,Actor
James Gandolfini Carol
Paul Dano Actor,Alexander
Tom Noonan Voice Only
Catherine O'Hara Actor,Judith
Forest Whitaker Voice Only,Ira
Michael Berry The Bull,Voice Only
Chris Cooper Douglas
Lauren Ambrose KW
Pepita Emmerichs Claire
Max Pfeifer Claire's Friend
Steve Mouzakis Teacher
Mark Ruffalo The Boyfriend
Joshua Jay Claire's Friend
Ryan Corr Claire's Friend
Vincent Crowley Carol Suit Performer
Sonny Gerasimowicz Alexander Suit Performer
Nick Farnell Judith Suit Performer
Sam Longley Ira Suit Performer
Angus Sampson The Bull Suit Performer
Mark McCracken The Bull Suit Performer
John Leary Douglas Suit Performer
Alice Parkinson KW Suit Performer
Garon Michael KW Suit Performer

Technical Credits
Spike Jonze Director,Screenwriter
Lance Acord Cinematographer
Justine Baddeley Casting
KK Barrett Production Designer
Bruce Berman Executive Producer
Carter Burwell Score Composer
John Carls Producer
Kimberly Davis-Wagner Casting
Dave Eggers Screenwriter
Natalie Farrey Associate Producer
Gary Goetzman Producer
Tom Hanks Producer
James Haygood Editor
Jon Jashni Executive Producer
Catherine Keener Associate Producer
Ren Klyce Musical Direction/Supervision,Sound/Sound Designer
Vincent Landay Producer
Scott Mednick Executive Producer
Karen O Score Composer
Maurice Sendak Producer
Thomas Patrick Smith Asst. Director
Casey Storm Costumes/Costume Designer
Lucinda Thomson Art Director
Thomas Tull Executive Producer
Emma Wilcockson Associate Producer
Eric Zumbrunnen Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Where the Wild Things Are
1. Owner Of This World [9:38]
2. What Is Wrong With You? [5:04]
3. Sail a Stormy Sea [3:53]
4. Wild Things [4:11]
5. We Found Our King [5:58]
6. Let the Wild Rumpus Start [4:25]
7. Gotcha [4:36]
8. No Plans to Eat Anybody [3:09]
9. Kingdoms Large and Small [7:42]
10. Building Crew [3:20]
11. Playing Favorites [2:31]
12. Bob and Terry and Carol [7:16]
13. Good Guys, Bad Guys [6:38]
14. Just Regular [6:16]
15. Hard Being a Family [7:28]
16. Eat You Up, Love You So [8:29]
17. Home Not Alone [2:23]
18. End Credits [7:48]

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