I saw Spike Jonze’s new movie “Where the Wild Things Are” on Friday. I really wanted to see this movie. I was intrigued by the previews and the reviews.
I really liked the beginning, where we see Max’s (a nine-year old, I would guess) family and we get a feel for the family dynamics. The movie through very precise, detailed shots gets across the mood: Max is angry, Max is lonely, Max is sad. The camera lingers close to his face, close to the gestures, like when he goes under the desk and plays with his mother’s toes: very peculiar and very familiar at the same time.
After a fit of anger Max runs away from home and enters a world of fantasy, a world where the wild beasts are. We get the description of their world, we get the idea of the beasts different personalities. By the middle of the island adventures, the movie feels like it’s dragging. Especially during Max’s walks on the island with the beasts, mainly because there’s no plot. But there’s scenery and walking.
When things on the island get tough mainly because the strained relationship between Max and the beasts, we get more than we bargained for. And when there’s hurt and disappointment, I felt that the movie was rather manipulative: the camera lingers on the beasts’ and Max’s faces when they are on the verge of tears, and the music commands you to cry. These moments I wish it was more subtle, I wish there was less in your face sensational sentimentalism. And lots of people were crying.
I liked the movie, it set the tone right through beautiful shots and angles. The kid Max Records playing Max was very good. I just wish there was less shameless prodding of the viewers’ lachrymal glands.