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Review: Where the Wild Things Are

Have you seen this trailer?

[embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFgB6xUzziU[/embed]

Notice that you really don't see anything about the movie other than how beautifully shot it is. And that's thanks to Lance Acord who worked on Marie Antoinette and Lost in Translation (both gorgeous movies). Otherwise you get a sense of the mood (thanks to Arcade Fire's track on the preview - Karen O and the Kids do a good job maintaining that mood, if less big sounding and theatrical) and shots that evoke a reminder of the book's illustrations.

What you don't a sense of is how slowly paced the movie is. Or how muddy the messages are. Or how tedious it is to watch.

Can you tell I wasn't impressed? In fact, I was less than impressed. I was disappointed with everything but the cinematography. With how boring the story and pacing were, I still had to sit through countless moments of Karen O's shrill screaming. Sweet Lord. The soundtrack was cool other than her screaming. But that's also why I'm not a big fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The story deviates pretty quickly from the book. Given the book only has, like, 10 sentences in it. But Max is coddled and runs away from home. And isn't punished at all in the movie. He is a brat and "out of control" but does he get any discipline from his parent? No. Not once in the whole movie.

And I swear, if I had to be punished through that long, boring film, Max should've been punished in some way too.

Interaction with the monsters was interesting for a few minutes and then the dynamic proved to be scattered, confusing and so tense it annoyed me. There were too many little storylines and inside nuances between the monsters that it ended up muddying any message that was supposed to be conveyed by Max's relationship with any of them. Too much drama, I guess.

With the hipster-targeted marketing, they probably should've gone for a limited release first. But with a name like Spike Jonze directing, that probably wasn't even thought about.

I wasn't a fan. I almost fell asleep three times. I kept wondering when it was going to be over. I kept wondering when it was going to start, for that matter. If you don't see it, you won't be missing much, in my opinion.

Update:
I think Stephanie Zacharek, a film critic for Salon.com, explained my feelings of the movie really well in her review (I didn't read it until after I posted my thoughts):

If your kids get all wide-eyed at the prospect of listening to grown-ups' self-absorbed reflections on the fears, anxieties and frustrations of childhood, or if they've ever clambered onto your lap and begged for a civics lesson on the dangers of totalitarianism, then by all means run, don't walk, to Fandango and get your tickets for "Where the Wild Things Are." [...] Jonze's ideas, visual and otherwise, spill out in a faux-philosophical ramble that isn't nearly as deep as he thinks it is; at best, it's a scrambled tone poem. Even the look of the picture becomes tiresome after a while -- it starts to seem depressive and shaggy and tired...

Have your own thoughts on the film? Leave a comment!