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Spike Jonze: ‘Where the Wild Things Are’
How Jonze translates Maurice Sendak's classic 1963 children's book to the big screen
 

Where the Wild Things Are is "one of the year's best" movies, said Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly. Directed by Spike Jonze, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Dave Eggers, this adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic 1963 children's book about a group of untamed creatures who adopt a young boy as their "like-minded king" is "profoundly beautiful and affecting." This film is "a breathtaking act of artistic transubstantiation," and I was "bowled over with emotion" (watch the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are).

Sendak's book deals with "the rage of children," said Rafer Guzmán in Newsday.com, "and Jonze's film captures this beautifully during its opening scenes." It's obvious that "Jonze and Eggers have a firm grasp on the way a child's joy can quickly turn to tears, but they squeeze hard and can't let go"—the film essentially becomes "a parade of negative emotions."

Where the Wild Things Are is "like group therapy with the Muppets," said J. Hoberman in The Village Voice, and "children brought to see it might find it a downer." The movie does have a "kinetic feel for physical play," but also a "blandness—the sense memory of a child raised on Sesame Street." Fortunately, Where the Wild Things Are "isn't overlong, but it is underwhelming."

Also opening this week: New York, I Love You; Law Abiding Citizen

 

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