There's a lot to recommend Where The Wild Things Are, but you may just need a little pick me up after you watch it as it's quite depressing viewing at times and not as uplifting as the trailer would have you believe.
I was blown away when I saw the trailers for this film as they looked so full of joy and energy, so I was hoping that my high expectations would be met. I'm sad to say though that I was a bit disappointed, not because it's a bad film, but because it's not exactly the feel-good film I anticipated.
I was so excited to go see the movie on saturday night at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood on the big screen, but I left the cinema feeling a little deflated.
The movie itself, based on Maurice Sendak's beloved children's picture book, has a lot going for it. Beautiful cinematography and visually stunning locations from the woodland forests to desert sand dunes, spectacular sunsets, wonderful voice talent, amazing creature shop designs, a fabulous soundtrack and a brilliant child star in the form of Max Records as the fictional 'Max'.
I've also read lots of positive reviews praising filmmaker, Spike Jonze, for staying true to his artistic sensibilities and making a truly unique movie that honours the original source material. All that is true, but it doesn't make for a very joyful film.
This is a movie made not for kids, but for grown-ups who have fond childhood memories of the storybook, but I think even they may find it a bit too gloomy and sad.
Max is a young boy who is a literal 'wild thing' himself, full of energy and imagination, and after throwing a tantrum and biting his mother he runs off and ends up sailing away to an island of monsters to become their king (it is a fantasy after all).
In the trailer you see these colourful creatures having a wild time, crashing through the forest, running and screaming with joy, all to an uplifting soundtrack about love. And this happens, for all of five minutes.
Then it becomes a land of the manic depressives. I had a couple of cosmos before the movie which normally puts me in a fairly mellow, happy mood, and I know that alcohol can also be a depressive, but thankfully I wasn't drinking gin as that may have taken me over the edge.
You always feel slightly ill at ease along with Max on the island, worrying that he'll be eaten, squashed or clawed to death at the drop of the hat or in a fit of animalistic anger. And I'm sure that's what we're meant to feel.
It's quite a dark film, not violent, brutal, 'horror dark' as most films tend to be these days, but with a really sad undertone, which I know is supposed to reflect Max's family life and his feelings back home, but the constant angst is almost too much.
For any children that did go to see it, I can almost imagine them running through their playgrounds afterwards with big rocks and clumps of dirt and throwing it into other kids faces and laughing with glee.
I give Where The Wild Things Are three *** stars, not because it's a badly made film, but because I wanted this to be an uplifting experience and afterwards I really needed to go home and give my puppy a big hug and cheer myself up.
I'm sure I'll watch the DVD many times again, as it is a visually stunning movie and the creatures are so lifelike and their eyes and faces are able to convey so much emotion it's amazing.
The film has some classic dialogue and with superb voice talent like James Gandolfini (as Carol), Catherine O'Hara (as Judith), Forest Whitaker (as Ira) and Lauren Ambrose (as KW) there's a lot to like, but I still can't get past the fact I left the theatre feeling a bit hollow and empty.
I know it's nice not to always be served up the same sickly sweet sentimental feel-good movies, but a bit of lightness and happiness isn't too much to ask for, is it?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions so I'm sure there are many of you who simply loved the movie and everything about it. Post a comment let me know what you thought.
Hmm, what cheery film can I go see at the cinema next...