At the Movies with Kevin: Where the Wild Things Are

8 years ago Comments Off on At the Movies with Kevin: Where the Wild Things Are

“Where the Wild Things Are” is a complete and utter disaster. It is an awful, incomprehensibly dreadful experience from its depressing beginning to its everlasting end. The film has no discernable redeeming qualities other than the fact that it finally, blessedly ended in less than two hours.

The story begins by showing Max (Max Records), an immature child whose igloo is torn down by his sister’s friends who then proceeds to pick a fight and bite his mother (Catherine Keener) because he is pure, uninhibited, unchallenged evil. He is not an intriguing type of evil, but rather the boring, loud, mean, and unsympathetic kind. This is such an unlikable child that I wanted him to return to normal life to find that his family had moved, making him an orphan, because then he might be appreciative of all he once possessed.

Following the fight, Max travels to the end of the neighborhood and eventually across a lake to find the wild things at another land, hoping for a king that could lead them to a better life. The film wants the audience to be happy that he is finally receiving the attention he desperately craved, but visions of Hitler attaining power in early 1930’s Germany kept rushing to my consciousness. I have to admit to being surprised that he did not lead the wild things on a massive killing spree.

The interaction between Max and the wild things mostly consists of them hitting each other with various objects, while smiling and laughing at inappropriate times. This is too bad, because “Where the Wild Things Are” could have promoted acceptance and the extinction of intolerance, instead of a film that encourages arrogance, selfishness, and remorselessness. The only lesson it teaches children is how to judge people and separate them into groups based on first impressions, such as when Max groups the wild things into Good Guys and Bad Guys during the play war, which is not something any kid should view as a permissible way to act.

Max learns nothing throughout the story and the filmmakers effectively come to a random, abrupt conclusion because they believe that an hour and a half was the longest they could keep the attention of children. Max desperately needs to seek a psychiatric evaluation for serious abandonment and narcissism issues, rather than depending on his reaction with the wild things to solve all of his problems. The most disturbing part of his persona is the abnormal howling noise he makes whenever he feels it is appropriate.

There is no subtlety or truth in the film, especially by Max Records, possibly because there are no themes it explores deep enough to require such care. This is mainly because it believes that children are not smart enough to handle complexity, which is simply not true. There have been certain rumors that indicate a possibility for “Where the Wild Things Are” being included in the 10 Best Picture nominees at this year’s Oscars, which would rank as one of the worst and most inexplicable choices in Academy Awards history. While watching this shockingly bad experience, I began looking forward to such pleasantries as a colonoscopy, a root canal, and a spinal tap, which might be less painful and more enlightening.

“Where the Wild Things Are” began to force me to raise certain questions that it did not bother to answer. Why are these wild things on this earth in this form and why do they speak English? I know it is a children’s fantasy, but some forethought into the development and evolution of these creatures would have been nice. What provokes this inappropriate reaction and terrible behavior by Max at the beginning and why does he choose to exhibit no remorse? As the film plodded along, it finally made me ask, where is the power line and how can I cut it to make this endless suffering stop?

The lesson might be not to give directors who have made great films on small budgets the ability to doodle with expensive projects. First, this mistake was made by giving Mark Forster the task to direct the latest Bond movie disaster “Quantum of Solace” after he proved his ability with the great “Monster’s Ball,” which he made on a modest sum of money. Now, Spike Jonze, who directed the inventive and perpetually exciting “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation” on reasonable budgets, receives an opportunity to produce his own catastrophe with “Where the Wild Things Are” and does not disappoint. Both directors forgot the core of what made them appealing, which were the memorable characters.

“Where the Wild Things Are” is terrible in every aspect, and I hate it even more because it attempts to con the audience with an emotional ending that lacks any resonance or authenticity because of the lack of sympathetic characters. It attempts to illustrate a depiction of the affects of a divorce on a small child, but I have seen a more accurate exploration of this from “Brooke Knows Best.” There is nothing that is interesting, fun, or entrancing in the film, and it would have been better if there were some closure between Max and the wild things. The problem is that would have meant a longer, drawn-out ending that would have simply extended the unbearable, agonizing pain that was being inflicted upon me from the screen. On second thought, the current ending is acceptable if only because it is aids in expediting the escape from this cinematic prison.