Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are

Rated: PG [See Full Rating] for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language.
Genre: Childrens, Dramas, Based On A Novel

Synopsis: Innovative director Spike Jonze collaborates with celebrated author Maurice Sendak to bring one of the most beloved books of all time to the big screen in “Where the Wild Things Are,” a classic... Innovative director Spike Jonze collaborates with celebrated author Maurice Sendak to bring one of the most beloved books of all time to the big screen in “Where the Wild Things Are,” a classic story about childhood and the places we go to figure out the world we live in. The film tells the story of Max, a rambunctious and sensitive boy who feels misunderstood at home and escapes to where the Wild Things are. Max lands on an island where he meets mysterious and strange creatures whose emotions are as wild and unpredictable as their actions. --© Warner Bros [More]

Starring: Paul Dano, Forest Whitaker, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Catherine O’Hara, Max Records, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Chris Cooper

Director: Spike Jonze
Screenwriter: Dave Eggers, Spike Jonze
Studio: Warner Bros.

What does one do with a book that is all pictures and only nine sentences long? What an easy piece of work it is to pull out a book like this when your little bit says, “Read it again!” Bedtime isn’t too far away. And there aren’t many lessons to be learned from the book either. It is merely a fantastic trip into the inner child of many, that can be experienced and then put away. Any long term gravity from such an experience is hardly expected or felt by any and all involved.

But the writers have quite a job on their hands of creating a movie that has more depth and narrative that just nine sentences. How can they make it happen? Well, naturally, they have to go where they have been programmed to go for about 200 years now. They have to look deep into the psyche of a child and somehow come up with a message for the child that is only hinted at in the book. And this they do well.

Max is a young boy who seems to be a loner who is at a loss as to how to fix his isolated existence. He wishes he could have the attention of his mother and sister to a more satisfying effect than he does at the beginning of the movie and his feelings are expressed in specific ways from a variety of sources. What is his inner psychology we all ask? Why does he act out in frustration when his mom brings home a new boyfriend and he can’t get her undivided attention? Or why does his sister not defend him when he tries to get the attention of her group of friends and the encounter goes horribly wrong?

Max acts out on one occasion and disappears, according to the movie, as he sails a small boat out on an open sea that stretches for miles around him. Does he know where he is going? Does he ever eat? Sleep? Relieve himself? Is this all an inner fantasy? It is in the book, but here the lines of reality and fantasy become blurred. He really does seem to sail and arrive at this fantastic island of wild things where he encounters.... himself.

Hmmm. There are on this deserted island a group of individual creatures that all seem to be in and of themselves, one of kind. They also speak and when they speak they sound a lot like classically written characters from a by gone era. They are of course, representations of Max himself displayed for himself to listen to and muse about in his fantasy isolation. How Freudian!

Max’s self psychotherapy displays a monster that acts out in frustration just as Max does at home and when Max sees this, he joins the creature. This creature’s name is Carol or Carroll, but it does seem to be male. Carol’s frustration is parallel to Max’s in that his lady friend has gone off to be with new friends, leaving Carol alone with the other psychological interpretations of Max’s inner life. Carol likes Max, and decrees that Max should be their king. The reasons for this are easy enough for Max to understand, since after all, it’s his own mind he is communicating with... still with me?

The manifestations of Max’s inner life all do the same things Max does and they all sound a bit immature in their inter communication with each other. Strangely polite, I found, almost “Andy Griffith” quaint in their inter personal dealings, but none the less, they could do no more than sound like kids due to the limited implied reality of the movie itself. This is, of course, with the exception of Carol’s lady friend, K.W..., who is Max’s mother representation.

The movie finds the following events to be less than riveting at times as the writers had to come up with conflicts that were both friendly to the inner Max and not destructive of his inner zeitgeist. If they had all turned on each other, what would we have left of Max himself? Not much. Mad Max perhaps, but I digress.

Max works through his inner conflict and frustration by being surprisingly true to himself and his manifestations. He doesn’t get stingy and cheat himself by making the inner characters roll over and give in when things get a bit uncomfortable. He actually has to face the possible harmful aggressive attacks that could come from disappointing the naively hopeful and cooperative creatures from his own inner psyche. When he discovers that being king means producing king type effects and he fails to understand just how to do this, his inner creatures become threatening. He faces some scary moments where he actually has to hide from himself, or Carol as it were, for his own frustration threatens his very existence.

Too true. A very poignant point, and I wonder if the writers actually meant for this to be displayed. Clever for sure. Max then hides himself inside the body of K.W..., the mother figure, who protects him from his own largess of the aggressive and toothy Carol. Max then exits her body, and is reborn. His lesson being that perhaps his biggest problem is not that his mom and sister cannot provide for him, but that he himself has a limited perspective on their position in reality, and as Shakespeare intoned: “Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.”

There is a lot more here, of course, but one final note I want to make is that the tone of the movie truly reminded me of the tone captured in those old 1960’s Charlie Brown cartoons we all remember from the holidays, which no one has ever been able to duplicate. There is a sort of separated waiting that happens when you are a kid, as the world really doesn’t belong to you and has little to do with you on an immediate plane, and that world is never really appreciated when we are kids.

It is too soon replaced by the destruction of our nice demeanors by the subversive effects of puberty that turn us into someone else from the cute kid we all once knew, to be followed by the trudge up the hill to maturity that leads to the black hole of credit debt and government control.

This is a dark movie to be sure, only illuminated by the quaint politeness of the creatures personalities that are belied by their fierce appearance. If you take your young one to see it, make sure you explain what things the writers are putting out there, and why the mood is odd compared to other movies for kids. There are good life lessons here, scary though they may be.... but then again, they always have been.

3.75/5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Escape The Hezbollah