Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things AreI’ve been putting off writing this for almost a week. Why? Because I really only like writing positive reports. And on the positive side I can say that the creatures and the interaction with the Max, the little boy, are stunning. I attended a speech given by Jim Henson around 1985. During the question and answer period I asked him how long it would be before we would see muppets who would appear to be alive and actually speaking. I guess the answer was 25 years. Live puppetry and computer animation make living, breathing, emotional beings out of these Wild Things. It is a visual delight. But I guess when I found myself obsessing with the technology I should have known the story wasn’t going anywhere.

What I expected and wanted was something fun and light; something magical. A bit of scariness wouldn't be too bad for a monster movie. Instead I got dark and dreary with pointless meanness. Don’t expect a great movie for youngsters. I guess if they are young enough not to care about the story anyway, they might be sold on just seeing a little boy playing with monsters. But if they are old enough to care about what is happening I think they’ll be puzzled. I was. The original story in the book only had ten sentences. That’s not much to build a movie around. So a story had to be written. The feeling it gave me was that somebody thought they had some profound things to say about childhood and how to survive it. Unfortunately I didn’t appreciate that point of view and it didn’t make for much entertainment. A story shouldn’t have to take itself too seriously even if it has something to say, which this one didn’t. But it did take itself very seriously. And so it needed to make some serious, helpful points. I don’t know why doing mean, spiteful things to each other is supposed to make these creatures and Max lovable characters. But it didn't.

As always, I won’t give away the story; well, actually, I’d have to know what the story was in order to give it away, but for me a movie is always about the story and no amount of technology will convince me to add a flick to my own video library. And this one won’t make it onto my shelf.

And that’s how I see it.


Two Monkeys


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