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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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Comments

not worth the ticket price. weird and fragmented. now i know why we were the only ones in the movie theatre on saturday night. it was like puf n' stuff gone bad.

It's easy to be seduced by this abomination. It should be rated R to insure that no one under 10 or 12 can gain access to its sloppy and disturbing plot. I found not one aspect of the film redeeming.

Anna...
sneakily inserted sentences? Of course being a family is hard. You've got kids, I'm sure you know that. Everyone knows that. But was there anything in the movie saying that it wasn't worth it? Quite the contrary, actually. The whole movie was about loving your family even when it is hard.
True, I don't think this movie is for very young children. At that age, all they see are the frightening scenes and don't understand the real deep emotion attached to them, or its relevance to the plot. But for me, those 10 sentences were geniusly fleshed out and deepened. I loved the movie.
And Rachel Krause... no, nevermind, no comment. Not worth it.

I don't understand why people are so surprised that this movie is a little dark and scary... the book is a little dark and scary... Max finds himself on an island filled with monsters who are gnashing their teeth at him! That is scary! I thought the movie was brilliant.

i thought this movie was great. it had the original story line, the boy runs away, becuase king of the wild things then goes home. but there needed to be reaseons for all that, not just he was being bad. the original book was in there, just not so plain as the first time.

I just saw the movie. To a degree, I agree with Anna: the movie was unexpectedly adult-oriented and intense. However, saying it was a "terrible movie" (Rachel) reveals a simple-mindedness that should be filtered from blogs like this for the sake of your more insightful readers. It was artful, thought-provoking and wonderfully produced.

Anna, the movie is rated PG, that in itself should have caused you to look into whether your 4 & 6 year old were mature enough to handle this movie. At those ages your children should probably be limited to G Rated material.

I loved this movie. I am a 70 yr. old Grandmother who has read this charming book several (?) times, but I was ok with the liberties taken because the message was so important. I went with my 19 yr. old grandson, who also loved it. I'll probably leave my 6 yr. old grandson home but the others from age 9-19 will love it I'm sure. The symbolism, music, colors, and compassion of this movie deserve an A+.

There needs to be a disclaimer that this movie based on a children’s story book is not for children. I brought my 4 and 6 year olds. Big mistake. We have new readers at our house that absolutely love the original book. The negativity, and sneakily inserted sentences like “being a family is hard” is not appreciated from a movie that I thought was going to be a reward for my kids and uplifting for my whole family that attended. A bunch of un-necessary dialog was not needed, and I walked out of the movie theater wishing for a Cast Away (2000with Tom Hanks) version of this movie. The 10 sentences from the beloved original story of Where The Wild Things Are were missed. As an adult hoping to reminisce about one of my own favorite childhood storybooks I was disappointed. Something sacred was tampered with here.

This is a terrible movie. I saw it today and it reminded me of some drug induced nonsensical escapade. The boy bites his mother runs away and then after a day or two with monsters he comes home and eats a piece of choclate cake. WHAT THE HELL?

i just hope the movie does the book justice. anyway, it looks somewhat promising *she says with fingers crossed*.


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