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Movie Review: Where the Wild Things Are

Alternate Title: Let the Wild Rumpus Start

Story: It's good to be king (at least for awhile) as little Max learns in this delightful Spike Jonze adaptation of Maurice Sendak's 1963 classic children's book. The film was written by Mr. Jonze and Dave Eggers. I hereby confess that I never read the children's classic. I was in college when it came out and did not have children to share it with later on. I entered this imaginary world with no preconceived ideas and had a rollicking good time.

Nine year old Max has some problems with his temper. After a fight with his mother, he runs away and enters a fanciful world filled with wild things and wild places. I could have gotten carried away and attempted to analyze how each of the creatures he met represented an element of Max's own psyche, but I preferred to just sit back and enjoy the vision that Spike Jonze deftly presented to us. Filmed in Australia, we delight in rocky cliffs, elegant sand dunes, fabulous structures, scary forests and washes of color, sound and light.

The film succeeds on many levels but its greatest achievement is that it can be appreciate by all ages and levels of life experience Spike Jonze has created a world that is both terrifying and beautiful. Little Max learns lots of life lessons and of course learns that there is no place like home.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NOkQ4dYVaM

Acting: There was a five continent search for the perfect Max. And what a Max they found. Max Records as Max embodies perfection. He is expressive, authentic and totally believable.Catherine Keener as the Mom, gives a sensitive performance in a very small role. Mark Ruffalo as the Mom's boyfriend, is not given much to do. Lauren Ambrose as KW, Chris Cooper as Douglas, James Gandolfini as Carol, Catherine O’Hara as Judith, Forest Whitaker as Ira, Paul Dano as Alexander all give amazing voice to their characters. Bravos all around.

Trivia: Spike Jonze has directed two actors and two actresses to a Oscar Nomination - Catherine Keener (Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Being John Malkovich, Chris Cooper (Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Adaptation, Meryl Streep (Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Adaptation.and Nicolas Cage (Best Actor in a Leading Role, Adaptation. Contrary to popular belief he is not an heir to the Spiegel catalog fortune, although he is a distant relative of those that are.

Predilection: I like Spike Jonze

Critters: Other than the seven imaginary wild things you can see a raccoon named Richard, a dog and a kitten.

Food: Frozen corn, chocolate cake.

Soundtrack: Delightful music by Karen O and Carter Burwell

Opening Titles: Credits are at the end.

Visual Art: A visual treat is in store for all.

Theater Audience: I went to an 11 AM showing on a Sunday. There was a good crowd filled with families, lots of kids, lots of adults by themselves and lots of couples. A very mixed bag. The movie theater handed out crowns to all that bought tickets. I gave my crown to my dog Benny and cat Madison, as they are the wild things in Casa Lobo.

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: 100 minutes