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Where the Wild Things Are

Drama . Adventure . Fantasy . Family

Max imagines running away from his mom and sailing to a far-off land where large talking beasts -- Ira, Carol, Douglas, the Bull, Judith and Alexander -- crown him as their king, play rumpus, build forts and discover secret hideaways.

Actors: Max Pfeifer , Madeleine Greaves , Max Pfeiffer , Pepita Emmerichs , Mark Ruffalo , Forest Whitaker , Catherine O'Hara , Max Records , Catherine Keener , Lauren Ambrose , James Gandolfini
Directors: Spike Jonze
Release: 2009-10-16
More Info:
  • Peter Travers

    Jonze has filmed a fantasy as if it were absolutely real, allowing us to see the world as Max sees it, full of beauty and terror. The brilliant songs, by Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and the Kids, enhance the film's power.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Not since Robert Altman took on “Popeye” a generation ago, and lost, has a major director addressed such a well-loved, all-ages title. This time everything works, from tip to tail.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    His (Jonze) obvious affection for, and veneration of, Maurice Sendak's 1963 Caldecott Medal-winning children's book is palpable in his near-perfect live-action adaptation, a dreamy -- and, like Sendak's book, faintly nightmarish -- exploration of one child's tantrum-y side.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    This is one of the year's best. To paraphrase the Wild Thing named KW, I could eat it up, I love it so.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    What he’s (Jonze) ended up with strikes me as one of the most empathic and psychologically acute of all movies about childhood -- a "Wizard of Oz" for the dysfunctional-family era.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    With Where the Wild Things Are Jonze has made a work of art that stands up to its source and, in some instances, surpasses it.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    As wish-fulfillments go, this is a movie lover's dream.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    In elaborating on the original book so boldly, and repopulating it so richly, Jonze has protected Where the Wild Things Are as an inviolable literary work. In preserving its darkest spirit, he's created a potent, fully realized variation on its most highly charged themes.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Josh Modell

    Spike Jonze has recently said in interviews that his chief goal ...was to try to capture the feeling of being 9. By that measure--by just about any measure, really--he succeeded wildly.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Matthew Sorrento

    His film captures the wonderment of dreaming - and the reality of waking.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    I don't want to oversell the thing. It is, quite simply, something very special indeed.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    Like the book, the movie blends a primitive quality with an imaginative artfulness. It also amplifies upon the story's gentle, sly wit.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    There are some great, rapturous moments in Where the Wild Things Are. Jonze is humbled before the wonders of a child's imagination, and so are we.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    The film treats kids' inner lives as more than a fantasy, which is a rare and beautiful thing.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Dan Jolin

    A film for anyone who’s ever climbed trees, grazed knees or basked in the comfort of a parent’s sympathy as they’ve pulled you off the ground crying. It’ll make your inner child run wild.

    Empire Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    For all the artfulness, the feel of the film is rough-hewn, almost primitive. It’s a fabulous tree house of a movie.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    The movie felt long to me, and there were some stretches during which I was less than riveted. Is it possible that there wasn't enough Sendak story to justify a feature-length film?

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    A satisfyingly moody, melancholy, madcap live-action romp.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    This version of Where the Wilds Things Are isn’t about childhood at all but about childhood’s end and what’s gained and lost by it. That’s why very young kids, dull Disney princesses, overprotective parents, and self-serious grown-ups should probably stay away.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    The result is an involving experience for all but the most fidgety children and an opportunity for parents to enjoy (rather than endure) a motion picture with their offspring.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    It IS a film that deflates you too often, despite its efforts to impart a sense of soaring. In the end, where the Wild Things are is in your imagination and in Sendak’s pages, not in this big-hearted but ultimately faint simulation.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    Jonze lets the magic ebb away in a sorry mesh of strained relationships.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    To their credit, the creative team has retained the handmade look and unruly spirit of Maurice Sendak's bedtime fable; to their discredit, they haven't added enough narrative or emotional dimension to make it an effective movie.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    Where the film falters is Jonze and novelist Dave Eggers' adaptation, which fails to invest this world with strong emotions.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Director Spike Jonze's sharp instincts and vibrant visual style can't quite compensate for the lack of narrative eventfulness that increasingly bogs down this bright-minded picture.

    Variety Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The film lacks the menace and danger of Sendak's book, along with the beautiful simplicity and delicated, understated portrait of a lonely, misunderstood boy.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    In their overly earnest attempt to flesh Sendak’s story out to 100 minutes, Jonze and his co-screenwriter, novelist Dave Eggers, have laboriously spelled out motivations (divorce is bad!), elaborated back stories -- and added reams of less-than-inspired dialogue.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    The most daring thing that Jonze and Eggers have done is make a children's film that might not really be for kids.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Less an adaptation of its source material than a therapeutic response to it.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Mature folks may wonder why a simple and simply beautiful story from their youth has been buried under layers of emotion Woody Allen's psychiatrist might want to pick over.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    Wild Things isn't overlong, but it is underwhelming.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    It's just too bad the end result isn't a better movie.

    Slate Full Review
  • David Denby

    I have a vision of eight-year-olds leaving the movie in bewilderment. Why are the creatures so unhappy? That question doesn’t return a child to safety or anywhere else. Of one thing I am sure: children will be relieved when Max gets away from this anxious crew.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Warmly and gently handled, though the central story, detailing the personal politics between him and the six childlike monsters, steadily loses steam.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    The true soulfulness of Sendak’s parable never emerges.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Jonze's ideas, visual and otherwise, spill out in a faux-philosophical ramble that isn't nearly as deep as he thinks it is; at best, it's a scrambled tone poem. Even the look of the picture becomes tiresome after a while -- it starts to seem depressive and shaggy and tired. Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    When faced as a director with the rudderless screenplay he (Jonze) co-wrote with Eggers, he's been powerless to energize it in any involving way. Sometimes you are better off with 10 sentences than tens of millions of dollars, and this is one of those times.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
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