Sunday, May 09, 2010

Movie Log: Where The Wild Things Are

Some movies are more disappointing than others. Time and expectations pay an important role -- a movie that seems fresh and new will feel even lousier if it turns out to be mildly lousy, and something that's been beaten up by critics can be very entertaining if it turns out to be not as bad as billed.

But -- even after my expectations were battered down by the uniformly bad reviews, and even though I've had most of a year to get ready for how lousy it would be -- I still found Where the Wild Things Are to be a deeply dull, turgid movie filled with pop-psych blather, both explicitly and implicitly. I started thinking of it as Where the Emo Things Are barely half an hour into it, and my two sons abandoned it, on and off, blithely -- popping back in when the soundtrack seemed to indicate something interesting was happening. (It generally wasn't.)

Spike Jonez took a perfect picture book -- one with the clarity and precision of great poetry -- and turned it into a whinefest, making the silent, iconic Wild Things of Maurice Sendak's drawings into tedious, petulant puppets and soaking the whole thing in a broth of indy-movie angst and ennui. This movie might have been more interesting in a theatre -- particularly with an audience of hipsters with daddy issues -- but it failed utterly as movie for children, or one that could reach children.

Listening to: Bess Rogers - Dirty Lies
via FoxyTunes

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