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Where the Wild Things Are (2009)


Duration 1h 41m Rating (UK) PG
Source of story An illustrated book of the same name by Maurice Sendak
Director Spike Jonze
Writers/Script Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers
Starring Max Records, Catherine O’Hara, Pepita Emmerichs, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose

Elevator Pitch: A boisterous eight year old boy, Max, has an argument with his sister and moodily runs away from his home and sails away in a small boat to  an island inhabited by half a dozen fierce creatures who make him their king, and so he is able to command them to carry out his bidding, involving making a castle out of boulders and sticks and fighting with clods of earth. They are very large and have sharp teeth, and when it seems that he may be eaten, one of them hides him in her belly, and eventualy he has to get in his boat and go home. When he arrives his supper is waiting for him.

Content: Nothing even the IMDb Content Advisory would find offensive. Max sails over an ocean and finds the wild things are cavorting and destroying structures by the light of a forest fire. Max, wearing his wolf suit and a crown, joins in their games, which involve among other things knocking trees down. And they construct an enormous rock and wood structure. Max goes with one of them to see a model of the island, later destroyed and two owls are shot down with stones. Later Max sails home.

A View: I was a fan of the book, and so were my children. Maurice Sendak liked it but maybe he was swayed by the $100 million production budget, and the star cast. The book ends with the words “Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him and it was still hot”. The film was not like that so if you have enjoyed the book don’t bother with the film, and don’t watch it with your children.

Additional Info: The production budget was $100 millin and originally the studio had assigned a $180 million publicity budget. When they saw the rough cut they cut the publicity budget in half, and in the end it lost money.


About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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