Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are - Movie Review

Where The Wild Things Are may have been one of a favorite book of your children's but I'm not sure the movie version will play well with them. The makers seem to have forgotten who their audience is - the movie is rated PG for a very good reason and while children can tolerate cinematic intensity in the right context, this isn't one of them.

The book, of course, is so much shorter than what's depicted in the movie but the plot essentials remain: a wild-mannered little boy escapes in his imagination to a place where the wild things are but eventually returns to his safe home. The locations have a strange but familiar feel - credit the Australian countryside for providing scenery like you've never seen before but maybe might have - and the costumes and sets are imaginative and could be worth the price of admission alone. But there are great stretches of time where not much really happens and then brief periods of intensity that are frightening. Yes, the creatures are extensions of the little boy's imagination and psyche but what's hinted at about their troubles goes far deeper than the book. There's a reason why the book is so short - children should only contemplate their fears for a short period of time before being reassured that everything is going to be okay but the movie's length - it claims only a minute more than and hour-and-a-half but it seems much longer - makes this impossible.

So the movie is really aimed at adults and adults may enjoy, like I did, the technical accomplishments of the movie but they may not find that enough to justify the price of admission.


  1. Michael Medved urged me in the strongest possible terms to NOT take children to this. He guaranteed life-long nightmares from it. I never read the book as a kid & it gave my husband the willies. I have come to trust his movie recommendations and Blake's at Bit Maelstrom almost exclusively. I'll add yours in as well. Keep tweeting when you post one!

  2. Thanks, Ruth Anne. I will.

    I was surprised when our pastor brought this movie up during the announcement part of his service the other day. I thought, uh, oh, another Baptist scolding about the culture but he threw a curve ball. His wife is a teacher and he professed her great love, and his, and their boys' of the book. He admitted he had not seen the movie but had read the reviews and only wanted to let parents and grandparents know they should not assume it was like the book at all and that they should do their own research before going to see it.

    There are plenty of good kids' movies out there. This isn't one of them.