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 the

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/09/2012
UPC:
0883929275113
Original Release:
2009
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Time:
1:41:00

Special Features

Higglety Pigglety Pop! or there must be more to life; The National Film Board of Canada and Warner Home Video present a New Live-Action Animated Adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Book featuring the Voices of Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker; ; HBO First Look: Where The Wild Things Are - HBO's Behind-the-Scenes look at the making of the film; ; Plus: Series of "Where The Wild Things Are" Shorts by Lance Bangs - Maurice and Spike, Max and Spike, The Records Family, Carter Burwell, The Absurd Difficulty of Filming a Dog Running and Barking at the same time; Crew Pranks Spike, Vampire Attack: The Max Records Short and The Kids Take Over The Picture

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Max Records Max
Catherine Keener Mom
James Gandolfini Carol
Paul Dano Alexander
Catherine O'Hara Judith
Forest Whitaker Ira
Michael Berry The Bull
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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Where the Wild Things Are 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
NoelaniCA More than 1 year ago
Max and his adventures with his friends is a great, yet simple reminder for all of us. Max is able to compare the frustration and situations that he encounters with his friends with his home life. It's wonderful to have the story brought to life for those that remember reading this story when we were young. The different events that happen with Max and his new friends are easy for all of us to relate to; we, too can think back to a certain time and situation that we probably wished we could have ran away and have become the king of an island!
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EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
Max, Judith, KW, Douglas, Alex, Ira, and Carol invite you to go "wild" with them. Let your imagination be untamed and go "wild" with these wild things. Fun and entertaining characters with a well developed storyline make this action adventure tale interesting. The customes are amazing and the details make this seem life-like. Has a great soundtrack. Max learns many of life's lessons through his experience with the "wild things." One lesson he learns is how to handle your emotions. Another lesson he learns is what to do about favoritism as well as how to keep everyone together and work as a team. As the DVD package says, this is a PG movie and some material may not be suitable for children, especially due to the violence. A favorable review: good for escapism.
Grandmom3 More than 1 year ago
I purchased this movie as a father's day gift for my son. He bought the book for his young son. I loved the movie in the theater and wanted my grandson to be able to enjoy it for a long time. It was one of my favorite stories as a child and the movie brought it to life for me.
jeanpennie More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my three kids throughout their childhoods and it's always been a family favorite. Now my almost three-year old grandson has learned to love it as well. I got the DVD not knowing whether (a) it would be too intense for him and/or (b) whether he'd sit still long enough to watch the entire thing. Surprisingly, he loved it so much we have watched it together at least ten times from beginning to end. Even the loud parts - and there are many - are not frightening to him. He spends time trying to voice his feelings about the characters' feelings. I think it is as wonderful a movie as it was a book.
cougerdawn More than 1 year ago
I loved the kids book and couldn't wait for it to come out on bluray...I was very disapointed. It was very dark and not really kid friendly at all. The acting was not well done but the monsters were cool looking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who grew up with the original children's book, I was skeptical when I heard this was going to be a feature film. However, Maurice Sendak himself gave it his stamp of approval, and it is an engaging and dark interpretation of the kid's book. Dave Eggers, who wrote the screenplay adaptation, weaves in a melancholy backstory of Max's divorced parents and a rough and often violent depiction of life with the 'Wild Things'. The fun, wild spirit of rebellion and the warm 'no-place-like-home' feeling are still present and counteract the dark parts quite furtively. Upon closer examination, various symbolic characters unfold, such as the relationship between two of the 'Wild Things' resembling the relationship between Max's parents. Although the overall feeling of the movie is much darker and at times more despondent than the kid's book, it is still a great interpretation of a beloved classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One had to wonder how a children's book with so few words could be made into a full length motion picture. This movie is one of which that young children will tune out -- too slow moving. Adults will have to view the movie more than once or struggle to find what emotion/quality/character flaw the things symbolize. If you are into special effects, you will enjoy this movie immensely.
bookin-it More than 1 year ago
To start with, this is not your average kids movie. The whole thing felt like it was geared more toward an older audience, however I beleive that kids who aren't so dumbed down by video games and brainless comics could actually follow along and even relate to the characters. I'm 26 and I found the movie very odd while watching it. But when I was done with it, I found that the movie stayed with me and resonated. I learned to appreciate it truly for what it was. It's not a typical movie where you watch it and go on with life afterward. It really keeps you thinking. There are certainly some very intense scenes where I even shuddered a couple of times because of how threatening/unpredictable the monsters could be. The whole thing actually reminded me of playing wild games with my friends growing up. And the facial expresses on the monsters are very, VERY convincing. I don't know how they did it. But I will certainly be buying this film. More non-animated children's films need to be like this. Not all kids are stupid, so not all their movies should be either.
Myazzi More than 1 year ago
Being a huge fan of Maurice Sendak's classic book, I found the movie to be refreshingly different. It touched more than I thought would be possible concerning the disappointments of childhood when it comes to the love and trust who hold to those in your family. After watching the movie with my 18 yr old brother, we were left in silence. We both had this feeling of having lost something. I wish I could put my finger on it, but its like you were brought to a certain realization that everything does change in the end, hopefully for the best. I'm still trying to figure that one out. All in all, not a movie I would take a small child to, but definitely one for the grown-ups who forgot how hard it was to be a kid.
slimikin More than 1 year ago
I'm not quite sure what to think about this film.
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I saw this movie in the theater, and was very surprised how dark and violent it was. I took my grandchildren, ages 7 and l0 and they did not enjoy it at all. No plot, etc,etc.