Children's movies don't normally show off about being clever, they aren't usually grown-up in their themes, nor do they view the world from an adult perspective (even if through the eyes of a child). So is this adaptation of the Maurice Sendak's popular children's story really aimed at the little ones or perhaps the over-sized ones, who remain young at heart? Either way, its message remains sincere.
Max (Records) is a tearaway. He breaks his mother's (Keener) heart. She picks up the pieces but struggles with his temper tantrums and far-too-active imagination. His older sister (Emmerichs) is disinterested and is no help. Determined to push everyone to breaking point, Max often finds himself alone, living in the fantasy world of his own imagination, creating adventures for himself and trying to escape pains that shouldn't be attached to a life so young. He thinks he has it tough, constantly rebelling, until one night, after biting his mother, he decides to run away.
The big bad world that he finds outside isn't half as scary as it should be to a child, with Max (after a voyage across the sea in rough conditions) eventually stumbling upon a community of, well, wild things! He befriends the large, furry creatures, who introduce themselves as Carol (Gandolfini), Alexander (Dano), Judith (O'Hara), Ira (Whitaker), Douglas (Cooper) and The Bull (Berry Jr).
Intrigued by Max, the group adopt him and, following a little white lie on his part, crown him as their king. They embark upon a series of adventures together, with Max being spoiled and doted upon - building forts, racing through the forest and playing games. But Max soon learns that life's problems are the same no matter where you are (cue the serious lesson), making him miss his home, where somebody else had all the responsibility.
'Where The Wild Things Are' is packed with adventure and life and set to an amazing soundtrack. The young Max Records is fascinating in the lead role, capturing the soul of a tortured little boy who feels completely misunderstood. The movie itself has an air of the magic about it, delving into the world of make-believe and fantasy at every turn, but reality is always lurking like a cloud in the background. With that in mind, you'd have to wonder if children would stick with its abstract telling to the end, or tire of the friendly creatures (who are wonderfully voiced by the all-star cast) before the close?
Charming and imaginative, 'Where The Wild Things Are' will certainly capture a few hearts.