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Where The Wild Things Are

Updated on May 27, 2014

There's a Wild Thing inside all of us.

"Where The Wild Things Are", simple children story brought to life, or something more? The story is essentially about a boy named Max (Max Records), whom runs away from home after getting into an argument with his mother. Only to end up in a fantasy world where these strange looking beasts known as the "Wild Things", inhabit a small island. Just as he's about to get eaten by the "Wild Things", Max somehow convinces them that he's a great and powerful king, so they make him their new ruler. Things go great at first, as everyone is happy playing all sorts of child like games, such as war, and building a fortress. Unfortunately, things start to go down hill for Max, as tension grows when Judith (Catherine O'Hara), one of the "Wild Things", starts to question whether Max is a good king. Then as the tension rises with Carol (James Gandolfini), as he becomes increasingly jealous of K.W.'s (Lauren Ambrose) new friends, two owls named Terry and Bob. Needless to say, it doesn't take long until the "Wild Things" start to turn on Max, as he's forced to fend for his life to escape the island. Based off the popular children book by Maurice Sendak. The costume designs seemed very well detailed oriented, as they were reminiscent of Jim Henson's work on such films as "Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth." As far as the rest of the movie goes, I found this film to be a bit disturbing. I understand that the "Wild Things", in this film, were used as a metaphor to describe some of Max's family in real life and parts of himself, being represented by fantasy characters ala "Wizard of Oz." As K.W. seemed to represent Max's sister, whom spends a great deal of time with Terry and Bob, that causes Carol to become jealous. Carol is used as a representation of Max, himself. As it was shown earlier during the movie, Max was jealous of seeing his sister, Claire (Peppita Emmerichs), hanging out with her new friends than him, so he starts a snow ball fight with them for fun. Which inevitably leads to them wrecking his self made igloo, that he made in the snow, get destroyed. Max cries over it, as his sister and her friends just drive away. Not that much different how immature and jealous Carol acts, when he's around K.W. and her friends as he tries to kill them. Alexander (Paul Dano) represents Max's insecurity in himself, as he feels that he's often ignored at home due to being the youngest. Then there's Douglas (Chris Cooper) whom represents his mother, as he tries to maintain order in an otherwise, hostile environment. Very much like Max's mom (Catherine Keener), does in the beginning of the movie. However, from watching this film, I strongly believe Max is one of the most psychologically disturbed children I've seen. As I tried to relate to his character and find some logic in his actions, to be quite disturbing. Indeed, Spike Jonze tries to use a bunch of colorful metaphors to describe the insanity within this child's mind, to entice the audience to seeing something more. However, that's part of the problem as I wouldn't classify this as a mere kids' film, even though its based on a children book. "Where The Wild Things Are" is perhaps one of the most disturbing yet intriguing films I've seen.

The imagery is used elaborately to describe the child's inner psyche, but the story does tend to get a bit dark at times. Perhaps too dark for children as I would not recommend this for kids. Don't get me wrong, "Where The Wild Things Are" is not a bad film by any means. As I found the colorful metaphors to be quite intriguing as the film is made in such a way, that one can't help but wonder that maybe he dreamed the whole ordeal up.

Throughout the the film, the kid wasn't exactly sane and rational, to say the least. As the opening scene, showed Max chasing his dog throughout the house, with a metal fork. Then later on refuses to settle down when his mom asks him to behave, in front of her new boyfriend. As she tries to drag the boy to his room, he bites her hand and runs away from home; when he doesn't get his way. Later in the film, Spike Jonze applies this same concept whenever Carol, doesn't get his way, he acts out rather violently through either wrecking the other "Wild Things" homes, or trying to eat Max, when he's unable to resolve the issue with K.W. Indeed, the use of elaborate metaphoric imagery in this movie is rather intriguing as the audience can't help but feel compelled by it.

Unfortunately, since this film is marketed towards children, due to its' source. I would strongly caution against it, as some of the images in this movie can be quite frightening. Sometimes, a bit too deep on the psychological aspect of the movie, as I don't think most children will understand it.

However, if your looking for a film that's truly unique, then "Where The Wild Things Are" will definitely keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Using an array of images to describe the intense psyche of Max, as he explores this new fantasy world. Is "Where The Wild Things Are" a mere adaptation of a children book? Or perhaps something so much more?


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    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      As I told "ageofcake", I understand completely what the film was about and what Spike Jonz was trying to do with this movie. In fact, I know that each "Wild Thing" represented either a piece of Max himself or a person he knew in real life. I get that part completely, as I know the story is meant to dive deep into the psychological aspect of the child. I get that completely, trust me. However, the message it was trying to portray came off as vague and inconclusive. Sure, it had a great concept to work with, I just didn't think it executed too well on the delivery. That's all I was trying to say in the review. However, I do appreciate your input though. :)

    • profile image

      Ron 

      8 years ago

      "Which is why I said I don't think the kid was psychology balanced as he shows a lot of display of jealousy and repressed anger."

      That's the entire essence of childhood though, especially for a kid who has no father and is feeling abandoned by the only family he has left, his mother and sister. There is not a child out there who doesn't display those exact emotions at some point or another even under normal circumstances. To not show those emotions outwardly would create even more of a unbalanced person. It's a part of maturing, and max has to learn to deal with those issues. The movie is just a physical representation of what Max is feeling.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      lol. probably not. however, im sure there are others on here, as it's a fairly big sight. therefore, i wouldn't be the least bit surprised

    • st0rm3 profile image

      st0rm3 

      8 years ago from Durban, South Africa

      I've not found anybody else here from SA. I only know one other hubber personally and she has just recently immigrated, so I don't think she counts anymore;)

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      thanks for the compliment storm. Im sorry to hear that you haven't been able to see it yet though. I didn't even know the film was out already in Africa. your the first person that i met from south africa, so im honored that my writings have reached out that far globally. :)

    • st0rm3 profile image

      st0rm3 

      8 years ago from Durban, South Africa

      Here in South Africa they're only showing it at selected cinemas, its a pity because I'd really like to see it.

      Great hub.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      I understand what Spike Jonz was trying to do with this film as he used all the wild things to represent people in Max's life, including parts of himself as well to display his psyche. I get that part. However, the film comes off as a bit vague when it tries to illustrate this point. I mean sure you can easily try to apply some logic or reason to why he gets upset over when his sister's friends destroy his igloo, that he worked so hard on to make. However, he was the one that started the snow ball fight, that inevitably lead to it getting destroyed. Which is why I said I don't think the kid was psychology balanced as he shows a lot of display of jealousy and repressed anger. That tend to make me question his motives. Don't get me wrong, I do think it was a rather intriguing movie and I do like watching it. I just don't think it was as great as most critics made it out to be.

    • theageofcake profile image

      theageofcake 

      8 years ago from MA

      This movie can sit comfortably alongside a handful of others that depict the troubling side of childhood. If you've seen My Life as A Dog or Leolo, you're familiar with this tradition. Its clear to me the adaptation was loving and considered deeply the implications of Sendak's original story. Also, I'm not so sure that Max is especially psychologically disturbed. I think he's a young kid trying his best to handle his surroundings and acts out because he doesn't know how else to respond. The audience, I think, is supposed to identify with his pain, not view it as strange or foreign.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      beth-okay, i can't wait to see what you think about it then.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Hmm..interesting take on it. Let you know what I think after I've watched it. :)

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