Where the Wild Things At Dawg?

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Article By: Ashley Maceli

Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book of the same title has completely been brought to life in the brilliant film Where The Wild Things Are (Warner Brothers, 2009). Director Spike Jonze did a beautiful job in making a quirky, dark movie that has elements for adults but not so much for children. The film is meant to be a nostalgic journey for an older audience rather than a newly retold tale for little kids.

Young and rowdy Max (Max Records) is having trouble with his family, feeling alienated and left out. His sister Claire barely looks at him, while his mother (Catherine Keener), though caring and loving, becomes side-tracked by her boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo). Max can’t contain his spitfire personality and after a fight with his mother, he runs away from home. He finds a small boat on shore, jumps in, and embarks on a journey to escape. After a cold, rainy journey in nothing but his cute wolf costume, he finally makes it to a large island.
Max finds a community of big and oddly cute monsters with problems much like any other society. He tells them that he has great powers that can help them with their problems and make all their sadness go away. The small group of unique monsters dubs Max their king with hopes of becoming happy.

Characters like Carol (James Gandolfini), whom Max becomes very close with, have the same wild personality as he does. Other characters include a meek ram named Alexander (Paul Dano) who is constantly pushed around, and the love interest of Carol, KW (Lauren Ambrose)who debates whether she should leave forever or not. Max enjoys playing around in this wild environment with equally wild monsters, but when the group faces real problems, he needs to figure out how to fix everything to make everyone happy.

Max Records did a wonderful performance as Max. Usually acting in music videos for bands such as Cake and Death Cab For Cutie, this is Records’ big step into movies. With fearless emotion coming from Records, hopes are high that in the future, we will see this adorable Oregon actor in equally moving movies.

The production and cinematography was one of the best features of the movie. With dark figures against a beautiful oasis of an island, filled with woods scattered with small colorful flowers, a desert land and even a nice beach, the mix of monsters and paradise takes you away from the thoughts of everyday life
The film is surprisingly dark and off-putting at times, making the movie mostly for adults. From some scary threats from the monsters to playful and silly jokes, it is hard to tell if the monsters are really good or bad. It’s making it hard to decide whether you should trust them or not; they are, after all, monsters.

It is understandable why for some people this wouldn’t be an ideal movie. The hype may disappoint, but anyone willing to let nostalgia into their lives will enjoy this adaptation of the beloved 1960s children’s book, Where The Wild Things Are.