Friday, October 23, 2009

Looking for meanings, missing by miles...

I couldn't resist the temptation any longer - I caught "Where the Wild Things Are" a few nights ago. As has been somewhat overstated, this movie is the embodiment of "love it or hate it" reviewing. And I'll admit that I'm as guilty of the crime of movie reviewing as the next meta-critic. That, however, is what I took from this movie first and foremost. It is meta, to the max. Only because everyone seems to project onto what happens on the screen their own silly or, quite certainly, not-so-silly lists of issues that they had only partly buried going in. My rating of the actual movie? A flat B. Max Records is great as Max - his hair alone is the best screen debut in years. Catherine Keener is stunning in the teeny role she has - the sun, moon and stars revolve around her indie cred which is only bolstered herein. And the Jim Henson Company's Creature Shop-created Wild Things are worth the price of admission alone. Unless you make the stupid mistake that I did by catching it on an IMAX screen. Fifteen bucks is a crime that we all should be marching in the streets against. But that's a different matter entirely. Beyond the actual movie, most people seem bent out of shape regarding the weirdly childish issues that result between Max and the Wild Things after he arrives on their far away island home. When someone starts pulling out the pop psychology and offers up explanations of what the REAL story is in this extended body connecting the lean, smart head and feet of the movie...tune that crap out. The conceit is that all the problems come from the imagination of a child. One that we are allowed to see has overblown the issues in his home life. Like a totally normal child does every day everywhere in every way. In the end, this is just a movie. One that is clever, inventive, infuriating and still just a nice, solid B-rating. In my opinion.

Hope your own childhood allows you to enjoy a movie this weekend for what it is, not what you wish it could have been had you gotten that hug from your father or something. Rock on.

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