Year of release: 2009
Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Pepita Emmerichs, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O'Hara, Lauren Ambrose, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, Michael Berry Jr.
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Synopsis:Spike Jonze's third film, following his previously well received and critically acclaimed films "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation", had a long and difficult journey to reach the screen. Amongst extensive reshooting and other stories of executives at Warner not being pleased with the final result of the film, "Where the Wild Things Are" is premiering a year after it's original release date. The film follows Max, a young imaginetive boy who lives with his single mother and older sister. Max is an anguished child, mostly due to the feeling his family isn't complete - his father is an absent figure. In one of his rebelious outbursts, Max runs away from home and escapes to a fantasy world inhabitted by creatures that are very unique and very much like a family. There he befriends Carol, the leader of the group, who is akin to Max himself and who decides to make Max their king. The dynamics of the group starts to change, because Max isn't the fatherly figure the creatures all expect. Spike Jonze took his time to get the adaptation of Maurice Sendak's book just the way he wanted. The film is a look at childhood and the perception of what a family is, through the eyes of a child who misses a parental figure. Through his adventures with the creatures, Max realizes that love and the people who love you, are far more important than the ones who aren't there. The film is remarkably well shot (courtesy of Lance Acord) and it's look and feel are simply superb. Visually it's unlike anything else and it conveys the melancholy and the sense of astonishment that Max is feeling. The creature effects, courtesy of Jim Henson's studios, is also fantastic and very real. This is a film with an artist's vision, with some shortcomings as far as some character development is concerned, but still unforgettable. Two special mentions to the always fantastic Catherine Keener in another great performance and the soundtrack filled with great songs, courtesy of Karen O.