Mr. Bill George Presents

Where The Wild Hype Is

In Film on October 28, 2009 at 7:55 PM

I hated this movie.

Sorry to be so forward but I figured I’d get the ugly truth out of the way up front. Also, early on I’d like to acknowledge the things that weren’t terrible about the movie, so as to have a clear conscience when I proceed to ridicule it.

Spike Jonze is a visionary director, there’s no doubt about that. I consider Adaptation a masterpiece and he maintains his visual flair here too. The CGI animated faces on the real bodies of the wild things works extremely well. His casting choices, such as James Gandolfini as Carol, are also impressive.

But none of that changes the fact that this movie is nothing but noise.

Our protagonist, an insufferable brat named Max, runs around screaming in the opening of the film (foreshadowing!). As soon as he runs away from home and into the world of his imagination, where the wild things preside, he continues to run and scream. And after he and the wild things run around and scream, they proceed to run around and scream some more, whilst throwing things at each other. And finally he runs home.

The end.

If you’re thinking to yourself that in that synopsis I didn’t mention anything that remotely sounded like a plot, you’re exactly right. Nothing happens in this film.

The vast majority of the film is either, as mentioned, Max and the wild things running around, screaming and having a good time, or bickering with one another. Each wild thing has a distinct personality and each one could be viewed as a reflection of a different aspect of the psyche of a child. Meaning the wild things themselves act like children.

Newsflash: Children are annoying.

Hence, I was cringing throughout the duration of the film. In no way was this immature nonsense something I wanted to (or for that matter would willingly pay to) sit through.

Are there more layers to it? Is there depth and symbolism to be had here?

Perhaps. I didn’t read much into it right off the bat but if you have the patience to withstand the onslaught of noise that it is embedded in, maybe you’ll find something to appreciate that I simply could not.

And to answer the question you may be pondering: no, I haven’t read the book. I remember it from my childhood, the cover at least, but I don’t recall its content. But that is neither here nor there. The film must be able to stand on its own as an individual product. If I read the book it may have set my expectations differently but I still would have had a headache leaving the theater.

(For the record, I expected the kid to go through some actual tragedy and escape to where the wild things are. Then move back and forth between real and fake. The trailer sure made it look that way at least.)

What this movie needs is, well, a storyline. But even more importantly: profanity.

If this movie had some harsh language in it, then I’d be a little more interested in some of these fiery exchanges. Towards the tail end of the film, when I’ve already sat through an hour of pointless fighting and KW steps on Carol’s face and they bicker again I really needed to hear someone say, “Oh yea? Well Fuck you Carol! What have you done for me lately you prick?!”

I have to admit, I became so disinterested in the film toward the end that in between my constant thoughts of “Why am I watching this?” I began to fantasize about the American Military swooping in and carpet bombing the damn island and running a block-ops extraction mission to get the kid out safe. Seeing a laser-sight dot appear on Judith’s head would have made my night.

Okay, I’m exhausted from typing with such vitriol. I’ll sum up the movie by saying the execution was there but I found the content to be unwatchable. Unless of course you don’t mind being audibly assaulted for 1.5 hours.

  1. So you didn’t like the movie?

  2. why are you so militant about a kids movie for our generation?

  3. I’m not trying to BE any particular way about it. I’m honestly calling it like I see it. That was my reaction to the film. Period. Almost all of what I wrote was actually verbatim my verbal reaction while walking out of the theater. Then I slept on it a night to see if any of my feelings would change. But they didn’t.

    So I guess the real question is: why did I have that particular reaction? Answer: I have no idea. Nature, nurture etc. Somewhere in my entire life story you could figure out why I like or don’t like what I do, but I can’t pinpoint this one. Why is your favorite food what it is? Because you like it. Why? Because you taste it and your brain responds positively. There’s no more dissection necessary than that. We all like what we like. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. It’s all a matter of subjective taste.

    And I don’t understand what being a ‘kids movie for our generation’ means. How does that change anything? You could of called it ‘the second coming,’ that doesn’t change how I feel about it. I’m not in the business of censoring my reactions based on genre or anything else. I’m in the business of sharing of my thoughts, feelings and beliefs with anyone who cares enough to read them.

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