Monday, August 7, 2017

Where the Wild Things Are

Childhood is something that comes and goes too quickly for one to appreciate. It's a time where one doesn't have to worry about everything around them, just the things that matter to them alone. But as is learned sooner or later, you have to grow up.

Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are has that as an overlying theme. Following Max (Max Records) as he escapes to his own imagination, he encounters the titular creatures and is crowned their king. At first Max revels in such an honor but the clashing personalities of the beasts cause a number of problems, many of them Max can't fix.

Based on Maurice Sendak's book of the same name, Jonze expands the 40-page story to explore more of Max's sense of creativity. And knowing Jonze's projects prior to this, it's interesting to see him tackle someone else's work (especially something more family friendly).

With his work often featuring fantastical elements, Jonze practically seems perfect to adapt Where the Wild Things Are. Granted, his previous films could be viewed as adult fairy tales (sometimes in every sense) but here he tones down his usual storytelling. And the result seeps with nostalgia.

Where the Wild Things Are is a decided change of pace for Jonze but it's an interesting one regardless. (What's the likelihood of him doing a similar project in the coming years?) He may be more known for mature (if sometimes crude) stories of whimsey but such familiarity with this type of tale greatly benefits him when doing a family-friendly one. (Oh, and you'll be missing James Gandolfini more as a result of watching this.)

My Rating: ****1/2

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