If you wondered how Spike Jonze and screenwriter Dave Eggers could expand Maurice Sendak’s nine-sentence children’s book into a feature-length film, you may still be wondering on the way out. This small and underwhelming movie stands to go down as the year’s biggest disappointment, unless that Avatar footage turns out to be representative.
The collected ensemble sets the bar high: as the inventor of Jackass, Jonze clearly remembers what it’s like to see the world through pre-adolescent eyes. When Max (Records) frolics in the snow or peers around the corner at his mother’s new boyfriend (Ruffalo), the film does a remarkable job of showing us only what a child would understand. But once our pyjama’d protagonist ventures where the wild things are, it becomes clear there’s not a lot going on. Max meets a motley crew: the James Gandolfini wild thing, the Forest Whitaker wild thing, the Chris Cooper wild thing, the Lauren Ambrose wild thing. It’s admirable that the movie refuses to cheapen Sendak’s vision by inflating it (aside from adding a ho-hum, anti-lying moral), but given the resources involved, the middle section’s reliance on repetitive, storyless forest antics suggests a failure of creativity.
Before we crush your dreams, it needs to be said that the film looks phenomenal – both in terms of cinematography and special effects. (The wild things hail from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, although the faces were computer-manipulated.) Watching these furry friends, you realise certain pleasures are being lost with the digital revolution. But the movie too often feels like a soulless technical exercise, which is about as unchildlike a thing as it could be.
Cast: Max Records,
Pepita Emmerichs, Max Pfeifer, Madeleine
Mike said: “amazing.”
This film is absolutely fantastic and it would be a crime if it's not released in Singapore.
Posted on Fri 27 Nov 2009 18:26:20
Peter Danes said: “If it is as good as it looks...”
Based on my favourite childrens story of all time, the trailer looks visually stunning and the film has a soundtrack to match. I truly hope it lives up to expectations. If anyone can make the film the classic it deserves to be, I believe Spike Jonze is the right person for the job.