I don't know how else to say this, so I am just going to come out and say it. I did not like Where the Wild Things Are. Whew. That feels like a confession. Now I can get on this this review without pussyfooting around the idea.
WTWTA opens up on a lonely boy named Max whose sister has out grown him, his mother is too busy for him, and his father is MIA. He has no friends, an overactive imagination, and is frustrated with everything in his life. In fact we continue to see how frustrated he is for about 20 minutes. So, he runs of to where the wild things are. For those of you who have read the book, you know what comes next. He becomes king of the wild things, runs around a lot, appreciates his old life, then decides to go home. Right? Wrong. This is a feature length movie, people. We have to have character development and a way to stretch out those CGI skills. So instead of a pack of monters to rule, Max instead gains a pack of insecurities to rule. In fact, the moneters' insecurities and fears seem to match pretty closely to Max's own. Max spends most of his time trying to placate the pack instead of having just a good old-fashioned rumpus before giving up and heading home.
Ok, so maybe he doesn't just give up. But when he realizes that he's messed things up worse than he's made them better, he abandons the pack without trying to rectify it all. We as an audience are left to believe that life for the monsters either goes on as it has before or that they figure things out on their own. If this movie is about growing up, I don't see much of a lesson there.
Plot points aside, the movie was boring. As I mentioned, the sequences when Max was at home ran too long and pretty much all of the character insteractions were damn right depressing. I was never properly pulled into the movie and kept waiting for it to end. This child next to me became fidgity half-way through the movie, and I can't say that I blamed him. I too wish I could have played in the aisles. If you're going to make a movie based on a children's book, make it appeal to children. For every action/fun scene, there were 5 argument/discussion scenes. The book is such a simple story and Jonze and Eggers had to ruin it by complicating it. The "touching" ending even failed to make me cry, and I cry at everything.
Two good things I will say about this movie is that it's beautifully shot and the costumes/CGI were fantastic. Other than that, save yourself the time and money and go rent to book from the library. It will be far more entertaining.