Where The Wild Things Are
- Kaleem Aftab
- 1 December 2009
Long deemed unfilmmable, Maurice Sendak’s nine-sentence children’s tale about a boy whose bedroom turns into a forest full of huge creatures gets the Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) treatment.
To fluff out the story, Jonze employed A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius author Dave Eggers to replace his usual collaborator Charlie Kaufman, and the padding they give to the story turns it into a shaggy, careworn tale of a broken American family.
On the day that Max (Max Records) is sent to bed after fighting with his sister (Pepita Emmerichs), his mother (Catherine Keener) is preparing dinner for her new boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo). The emphasis in this segment is placed firmly on the woes of the modern mother, working, bringing up kids and trying to have a romantic life. It’s so dull that it’s no surprise Max runs away. The joy here comes from the brilliant production design of the creatures. Jonze opts to use puppetry over CGI and this gives the action an ethereal quality. The creatures, voiced by actors of the calibre of Chris Cooper, Forest Whitaker and James Gandolfini, are deliberately cast as emotional stereotypes, and lack dimension as a result. Still entertaining, but a little underwhelming.
General release from Fri 11 Dec.