Where the Wild Things Are
First, let me say I don’t know from Maurice Sendak. I’ve never looked at any of his books. I have a CD of a performance of The Nutcracker for which he designed the sets and the CD cover, and that’s the sum total of my contact with Maurice Sendak. So this movie is not a rendering of a beloved classic to me. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Maybe if I’d loved the book the movie would have made some sense to me. Or maybe I would have hated it; after all, I understand the book had only 10 sentences. We’re looking at some major padding here.
I hated this movie more than anything I’ve seen in years. It starts off with this little 9-year-old shit throwing a tantrum and biting his mother. Now, I don’t believe in hitting kids, but I don’t believe in biting, either, and I’m afraid I’d have clocked the little bastard right into next week. I’d have probably felt rotten afterwards, but what are you gonna do? He runs, and ends up on an island populated by large men wearing fuzzy suits with big heads. And that’s what they look like, too. Muppets. And sure enough, I find they were created by Jim Henson’s crew. Ten sentences in the book, and these rag dolls talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. The script must have been the size of a phone book. And every word of dialogue is beyond stupid, even for an angry 9-year-old. They devote the next hour to breaking things and trying to work out some interpersonal relationships that had me falling asleep. Then he goes home. I don’t know why. I can’t see that he’s learned anything. The end. I’m not kidding. That’s it.
Every element of this movie sucked in a major way. It is visually uninteresting. It seems almost to have been shot in B&W (brown and white). The music is insipid (and I found out, back at home, that it was written by the director’s girlfriend). The voices just do not work with these creatures. They are provided by the usual “name” actors picking up an extra couple hundred grand for two day’s work. None of them know how to create an interesting voice; they just talk. Nice work if you can get it. And the whole exercise was not juvenile, it was infantile. They spent 80 million dollars on this gigantic regurgitated hairball of a movie, and I sure don’t see how they did, unless each of those suits cost 10 million. There’s nothing to look at, nothing to think about except how much longer will this idiocy go on, and absolutely nothing to enjoy. A triple threat.