Warning: Spoilers ahead! Unlike a lot of people, I was never particularly enthralled as a child with the book Where the Wild Things Are. I just didn’t get why it was supposed to be so good. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl or because I never acted out like Max or because I simply didn’t have that kind of imagination. Whatever the reason, the book never spoke to me. My son sort of likes it, though, so he wanted to see the film. We finally got around to renting it recently.
But you know what? This is just not the kind of story that plays well on the silver screen. The single biggest problem for me was the kid who played Max. He seemed far too old to be having such massive tantrums and doing childish things like standing on the table even after his mother told him to get down. I mean, really? He looked like he was 10. What 10-year-old acts that way? One that has anger management issues, probably — and that’s all I could think about during the whole movie. In the book, I got that Max was a boy with a very vivid imagination that he employed to help himself escape the drudgery of being grounded in his room. But in the film, I kept thinking, wow, this boy has severe problems and needs professional intervention. I have a feeling that’s not the effect the filmmaker was going for.
Nothing else really captured my attention in the film. None of the creatures was interesting to me, nor was Max’s various relationships with them when he was on the island. I was basically bored out of my mind the whole time.
As for my 8-year-old, his favorite scenes were the ones that were lifted directly from the book. In fact, he sat with the book open on his lap while watching, and pointed excitedly whenever he recognized a scene. Otherwise, he was pretty restless and bored too. It took us a few sittings to get through this one.
Overall, I thought this movie was a big waste of time and money. There was nothing at all redeeming about it, IMO. I give it 2 stars out of 5 — and that’s only because I somehow managed to watch the whole thing.