I'll eat you up I love you so.
I cannot believe so many critics have panned this movie. Wake up people! Where the Wild Things are is one hell of a movie. While everyone has been dishing out 8 bucks to see half assed crap like New Moon, and 20 bucks to buy the 2 disc special edition of Transformers 2 (my least favorite movie of the year), you all missed out on a cinematic experience so unique, it might never be repeated again.
Well, enough with my rants, lets get on with the show. The film opens up as 10 year old Max goes about being a rambunctious young pup, building snow forts and terrorizing his dog. These opening scenes are very beautiful because they not only show the wild side of Max, but the wild side that just about every child in the world has felt at least once in their life. These scenes also show Max interacting with his mom in increasingly touching ways.
One night, Max is mad at his mother for bringing over her boyfriend, when he wants her to pay attention to him. It shows Max being selfish, but you can relate to him. At least once in our life we have all wanted attention that was not given to us, so we acted out to get more negative attention. Max starts shouting at his mother, which results in him biting her and running out the door. He flees to the woods where he finds a boat, and sails away to the land of the Wild things.
Once there, he meets Carol (the leader of the Wild Things who represents Max when he is angry), Douglas (Carol's best friend, who represents the sensible side of Max), Alexander (the smallest of the Wild Things who represents the neglected part of Max), Ira (the dim witted Wild Thing, who represents... well, I'm not sure what he represents), Judith (Ira's wife who represents Max's hostility, as well as his mother's hostility), the Bull (The secluded Wild Thing who represents the quiet part of Max), and K.W. (who represents Max's mother all together). These creatures name him their king, and "the wild rumpus starts". I won't say much more, except that these are the best and most touching sequences in the entire film.
The story is supposed to be adapted from Maurice Sendak's children's story of the same name, but you could have called it anything else and people would only notice that the creatures are the same. So story is the only thing that gets 4.5, but who cares.
Acting in this film is phenominal. Max Records turns in easily the greatest performance by any child actor this decade. The reason Records is such a tour de force is because he just plays a kid. He doesn't try for anything more than what Max really is, and that is great acting in my book. Catherine Keener is great as Max's mom as well, although she has very limited screen time. The voice acting is all great as well, specifically James Gandolfini as Carol, who really brings emotional depth to his character.
Directing and visuals go hand in hand for me. Spike Jonez directs the film with beautiful depth, and (if you ask me) deserves an oscar for best director. His visions just pour out in the visuals as well. The film was shot in Australia, and the backgrounds are just amazing. The Wild Things are visually stunning as well. Replacing CGI with puppets, Jonez makes some of the most convincing movie monsters ever.
All in all, this is a wonderful film that explores what it's like to be a kid, and everything meshes together into one beautiful cinematic whirlwind that we will all look back on as a milestone in cinema excellence.
Grade: 100% A+ (niteowl's final verdict)