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'Where the Wild Things Are' tames most critics

October 16, 2009 | 12:12 pm

Where the Wild Things Are Oscars Academy Awards Critics Entertainment News 2468097 "Where the Wild Things Are" is only the third feature film from helmer Spike Jonze. A darling of the critics, Jonze was lauded by many of them today for his decade-long commitment to bringing the beloved children's book by Maurice Sendak to the screen. Jonze and co-writer Dave Eggers took the 10-sentence story about a little boy and his imagination and transformed it into an epic journey for young Max Records.

"Where the Wild Things Are" drew strong support from many of the top critics including Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune), Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly), Manohla Dargis (New York Times), Joe Morgenstern (Wall Street Journal), and Ann Hornaday (Washington Post). However, there were enough naysayers like Lou Lumenick (New York Post) and Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) that the film scored only 71 at MetaCritic and 67 with the cream of the crop at Rotten Tomatoes.

However, with the best picture race expanded to 10 nominees, it will only take a passionate minority to boost a film like "Where the Wild Things Are" into the mix. Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is among the producers of the picture while two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener is featured as Max's mother. And among those giving voice to the wild things are Oscar champ Forest Whitaker and Emmy winner James Gandolfini.

Spike Jonze earned an Oscar nod for his 1999 directorial debut "Being John Malkovich" -- he lost to Sam Mendes who helmed best picture champ "American Beauty." His 2002 follow-up film "Adaptation" won Chris Cooper the supporting actor Oscar and landed bids for both Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. And both those films earned scripting nominations for Charlie Kaufman.

Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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