I know at least one or two people are reading this thinking, “Why isn’t the review of “Vampires Suck” up when we were promised a review”? Well, I went to the theater last night and the entire thing was a massive mess and I just didn’t feel like dealing with it for a film I know I will hate and would probably just end with the line, “Vampires Suck, sucked”. So instead of wasting my time writing about a film that is not even worthy of a description. I decided to write this review instead since, up until last week, I actually hadn’t seen, “Where The Wild Things Are” and after finally viewing it, I felt it deserved a review here.
If memory serves me well, when “Where The Wild Things Are” hit theaters, it received mixed reviews and was followed by all the news stories that almost all the film had to be re-shot or re-worked because it was just too scary for children. The problem is though, the story was never really meant to warm children’s hearts. Yes, the original book was short and filled with pictures and was in all ways a children’s book, but it was trying to say something different; more on that later.
The idea that I was going to be disappointed with the film was stuck with me ever since the trailers hit the scene. I like Spike Jonze and almost all of his work, so maybe I shouldn’t have doubted the movie from the start, but when a movie goes through so much red tape as this one did, it rarely comes out on a positive note; maybe “Citizen Kane” and “Brazil” being two of the few exceptions. The end result though, is fantastic.
The story can seem a little disjointed on the first run through, but if you stick with it and let it all play out, it makes perfect sense and is in a very simple package, like the book. It takes a special talent to bring you a film that can touch so many different nerves and emotions while keeping the viewer involved through a very recognizable reality and an alternate reality which at its base, is extremely familiar as well. I am also usually wary of child actors and what they are capable of, but Max Records whose character shares the same first name was just perfect in every way and it is a testament again to Jonze and his casting staff for being smart enough to cast this young man in a role that drives everything we see and experience.
The film is dark and at the same time amazingly funny. There are some fantastic laughs to be had from small characters that are puppet versions of Owls and a Raccoon that do wonders to expand the world that Maurice Sendak created with the original book. And of course, do not forget the wonderful voice work by James Gandolfini, Katherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose and Paul Dano as the, “Wild Things”. They all did amazing work to bring a literal voice to this classic tale.
The work that went into the story of this stretched out version of a nine page book, worked wonders. The film makers took the original theme and just expanded it a little and while maybe it won’t mean the same to you as it did to me, they succeeded in breaking my heart, in a good way of course. I think too many people went to see the film, thinking it was just for kids or that it was just about a fantastic world that a young man was going to escape to and not what it really is about; a child finally understanding the hard work his mother puts in, trying to keep her family happy, even when it is beyond her control. This is something everyone needs to understand. As children we under-estimate all the things our parents do for us, from good times to bad times, they may not always do things the right way, the way you want it to be done, but they deserve your respect and your love, just as much as you want theirs, don’t forget that.