Where the boring things are

Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, “Where The Wild Things Are” came to life on the big screen, only to die there.

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By Christina Espinoza / Asst. Inscape Editor

Stare down (Warner Bros. Pictures)

By Christina Espinoza / Asst. Inscape Editor

Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, “Where The Wild Things Are” came to life on the big screen, only to die there.

Following the basic plot and content of the original children’s book, the film features a young boy, Max (Max Records), who runs away from home and allows his imagination to run wild.

Unlike the book, the film seems to portray a neglected boy going through a very serious childhood depression.

Max is depicted as a rebellious boy who is struggling with deep emotional issues of loneliness, anger, confusion, sadness and sorrow.

Feeling misunderstood by his mother (Catherine Keener), Max runs away from home and sails off into a vast sea.

Max journeys to a gloomy island where he stumbles upon a mob of gentle, giant, monster-like creatures who crown him king in their search for happiness.

Max struggles to keep everyone on the island happy as the film struggles to keep the audience interested.

While visionary director, Spike Jonze managed to create a children’s film which captures the true innocence of a child’s imagination and gives audiences a chance to see into the turbulence of childhood, the film is dreary and seemed strangely inappropriate for children.

The film came off as dark and depressing with so much tears shed throughout the movie, it’s no wonder the classic children’s book was considered unfilmable for decades.

Halfway through the film, one might wonder if they are not seeing the movie for what it really is and that’s when the realization hits of just how drab it is.

While some reviewers and critics seem to embrace and appreciate the genius of Jonze’s artistic ability to take an uncommon approach towards making a children’s film, children seemed more interested in the lights at the top of each step inside the theater.

Still, one might notice how children could enjoy the playful nature of the island creatures in the film as some portions of the movie were slightly reminiscent of the hit PBS television show, “Teletubbies.”

Since it’s publication in 1963, “Where The Wild Things Are” has been adored as a favorite by many children and adults.

The problem with making the beloved book into a movie may be due to the book’s slim contents of only twenty pages and nine sentences. The lack of content in the book may also be the reason for the film needing such brilliant guidance in its creation.

Director Jonze, composers Carter Burwell and Karen O, and cinematographer Lance Acord create substance in a make believe land. In one visually memorable scene, the island monsters and Max are engaged in a game of war, using dirt clogs as ammunition.

The scene uses a series of handheld camera shots which add a first hand encounter to the action and provide a different point of view for the audience.

The film combined puppetry provided by Jim Henson Company and computer animation to enhance the monsters facial expressions and create a magical experience for viewers.

Yet even with the brilliant film crew, the movie falls short, feeling way too slow at times and causing audiences to grow weary of the monotony.

Previews for “Where The Wild Things Are” may have portrayed the film as a children’s story filled with fun and adventure but honestly it is a story about a child filled with sadness and his struggle to cope with it.

If viewers like a movie where they don’t have to worry about missing any good parts when they use the restroom, then they will enjoy this film.

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

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