Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Where the Wild Things Are - My Uncertain Review
I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts about Where the Wild Things Are since I saw it last week. The fact that I’m still thinking about it and mulling it over in my brain is a positive sign. I’ve even amended my first reaction which was "I never want to watch this again," to "Ok, maybe I NEED to watch this again."
I went in sure that I was going to love the film. The trailers alone filled me with so much happiness that I would tear up a little bit. Yes, I cry when I’m happy as well as when I’m sad. I retained my initial positive attitude as the film began but it soon started spiraling downward as the film progressed. By the end I was a wreck: crying, depressed, disappointed. I’m still kind of angry that Spike Jonze chose to tell the story in such a gloomy way that I was not left buoyed by it at all, but rather deflated.
I get what he was trying to do. I understand completely what his intent was and I even admire his determination. But what’s wrong with a little bit of happiness? What’s wrong with a little bit of joy? Every time those emotions peeked through in the film, they were quickly choked back by jealousy, mean spiritedness, and loneliness. Ugh.
Things I liked:
Max Records - the kid is incredible and he carries the film firmly on his strong, little shoulders.
The look of the film – everything was absolutely freaking gorgeous: cinematography, the use of light, set design, the creatures, props, everything. There were scenes that made my heart ache they were so beautiful.
The music – I have the soundtrack by "Karen O and the Kids" and it’s wonderful. The music taken on its own gives me the feeling that I wanted the film itself to give me.
The voice actors – these actors contributed stunning voice work for the wild things and it was a seamless transition from the expressions in their voices to the physical expressiveness of the creatures.
In the end, I still don’t know how I feel about the film. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I never thought of Sendak’s book as being a sad story but Spike Jonze gave us a sad film. The film captured my imagination with its unique visual beauty, but it didn’t capture my heart.