Sarah McLachlan (Right) Getting A Hug At “Lilith Fair”
~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today’s Shaggy Schlock: Where the Wild Things Are
This Halloween season, I’m sure many fine people are going to be wondering
exactly “Where the Wild Things Are”. Some will take solace in the fact that
they are not all in David Letterman’s dressing room… Folks can actually find
beasties galore lurking throughout Spike Jonze’s new adaption of the classic
children’s book penned by Maurice Sendak !
At times, this dark flick feels like it was really penned by Jacqueline Susann
(Valley of the Dolls) or Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar). This “kid’s” story sure as
bloody HELL did not translate into a kid’s movie… It’s a PG version of “The
Omen” laced with moments reflecting “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I
couldn’t tell if I was watching “The Bad Seed” or “Born Free” !
Our “hero” is some brat named Max. I disliked this young man about three
minutes or so into the film… For starters, he has some strong anger issues
and his mother dresses him funny. Little Mad Max is the kind of character
you really want to see get beat up on the playground ! He is not wearing
any jet-black eyeliner yet, but he’s one “Hot Topic” shopping spree away
from becoming EMO !!!
Granted, Max does have a hard life for a child… We never see him playing
video games (abnormal) and he doesn’t even seem to own an iPod !!! This
forces him to build snow forts, play with sticks and use his imagination. If
I saw my son out in the street playing with a stick, I would just hand his
lunch money to bullies myself. Sticks are soooo 1952.
Part of the problem stems from his parents being divorced. Or maybe they
are separated… I’m not sure. Whatever the circumstance, Max has ended
up living with his mom and sister. One fateful night, this kid sees his mama
getting groped by some dorky dude on the sofa…
Max freaks out… But that’s what happens when bodies start slappin’ (from
doin’ the Wild Thing). She wanna do the Wild Thing !!! Please, baby baby
Hangin’ Out Is Always
Max’s mom and “date” are angry that the boy has ruined their good time…
The traumatized tot tears up the house while his mother attempts to find
some Prozac (to no avail) ! He proceeds to bite his mommy and then runs
out into the street, dressed as a squirrel and howling like a banshee.
What happens next is magical… Sort of. Cujo Max runs to a waterfront
area where he gets into a boat and sales off to an enchanted world ! In
tragic reality, this twit is having a big medication withdrawal and foaming
at the mouth while laying semi-conscious on a dirty beach.
His dark, inner demons spring to life in a fantastical fashion !!! We meet
odd creatures resembling the “Sid and Marty Krofft” puppets (after being
coated with glue and tossed in a giant pile of Natalie Merchant’s leg-hair
shavings). This is of course, assuming that Merchant indeed shaves her
^ Another Avant-Garde “Burger King” Commercial
I mention Natalie Merchant only because of the style of this film’s soundtrack.
It’s kind of folky, but not good old-fashioned granola folky. It’s like screaming
angry-hippie bongo animal folk ! Folking ridiculous if you ask me… If I wanted
to be entertained by slightly miffed bohemians, I would watch “Rent”.
Anyway, Max starts to hang out with these large, wild monsters. All of them
have major problems (but cute names) !!! Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini)
is the leader of the pack, and he likes to break things… His girlfriend has left
him (KW, voiced by Lauren Ambrose) so he’s totally bummed out.
Assorted fuzzy (and feathered) friends help Max become king, and Max uses
everything in his power to cheer Carol up !!! Carol eventually comes around,
but not before ripping someone’s arm off.
At times, “Where the Wild Things Are” reminded me of “Jon & Kate Plus 8”.
Horrible hair, depressing adult situations, assorted goblins running around
and loads of shrieking. Sad in a way… Yet not a total loss. Despite being
far removed from the vibe the book put out, this flick is artfully done.
How Do You Work This Confounded Camera ?
Beautiful imagery and nice special effects abound. But the plot’s much too
heavy-handed, and the resolution of everyone’s issues is muddled. OK, so
the director did something bold and daring. Kudos to him ! He embellished
on a story we all know and love… (I’m glad he avoided doing Dr. Seuss and
Can you imagine ? “Horton Hears a Who!” (because of the hallucinogens).
Or, “Clifford the Big Red Dog” (gets taken behind the shed) !!! How about
adorable “Curious George” (and the intriguing electrical outlet) ?!! Perhaps
the already morose “Velveteen Rabbit” (in a “Fatal Attraction” remake).
Fact is, it’s pretty easy (and in vogue these days) to turn something fun
and lighthearted into a tragedy. I’d give a cookie to someone who could
do the opposite ! Maybe transform Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” into a
sweet, heartwarming tale of happiness and hope…
Ha !!! When I first heard about this project, for some reason I thought
it was being directed by “Spike Lee” ! Now there’s a movie worth seeing
at any cost. “Do the Right Wild Thing” !
I’m sure it would have been more entertaining than this incarnation… Not
a good film, not a bad film. Just an adequate study regarding the effects
of steroids on Teletubbies.
“Where the Wild Things Are” is full of sound and furry, signifying nothing.
Would I Recommend This ? No
Daniel’s Critical Rating: “6” out of “10”