[Screen It]
    

 

"WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE"
(2009) (Max Records, voice of James Gandolfini) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Heavy Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Moderate None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Fantasy/Drama: A hyperactive child imagines traveling to a distant land where he becomes the king of a group of large creatures that have their own share of personal and interpersonal issues that they and thus he must deal with.
PLOT:
Max (MAX RECORDS) is a young boy apparently suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition exacerbated by his older sister, Claire (PEPITA EMMERICHS), no longer wanting to play with him and his mom (CATHERINE KEENER) spending time with her new boyfriend (MARK RUFFALO). When she disciplines Max for his latest bit of acting up, he races out of the house at night in his wolf costume, down the street and into the nearby woods.

There, he finds a sailboat, sets sail across a vast sea, and beaches himself on a distant land inhabited by a small group of monsters, most of which dwarf him. There's the unofficial leader, Carol (voice of JAMES GANDOLFINI), who has anger issues, some stemming from the fact that KW (voice of LAUREN AMBROSE) has left the group to hang out with some new friends.

Judith (voice of CATHERINE O'HARA) and Ira (voice of FOREST WHITAKER) are a couple of some sort, while the goat-like Alexander (voice of PAUL DANO), the smallest of the bunch, believes that no one listens to him. Then there's Carol's best friend, the bird-like Douglas (voice of CHRIS COOPER), as well as The Bull (voice of MICHAEL BERRY JR.). When the creatures view Max as a problem, they decide to eat him, but his order for them to be still makes them subservient, and they proclaim him as their king.

As he rules them via a child's mindset and imagination, he and they must contend with their various personal and interpersonal issues that threaten their happiness and ability to get along with each other.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Some might be drawn by the ads showing a boy playing with big creatures, while others who are fans of the picture book on which it's based might also be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MAX RECORDS plays a boy apparently suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who doesn't know how to handle his anger, boredom and/or boundless energy and thus acts up. When his mom reprimands him, he bites her on the shoulder, flees the house, and then imagines traveling to a distant land where he becomes the king of the wild things, but must deal with their various personal and interpersonal issues.
  • CATHERINE KEENER plays his widowed or divorced mom who must contend with his behavior.
  • CAROL is the unofficial leader of the wild things, a huge and menacing looking creature who often gets violent (usually toward inanimate objects) due to his anger issues, some of which stem from KW having left the group to spend time with her new friends. He takes a liking to Max, but is eventually disappointed by him.
  • KW is that other creature, possibly his mate of some sort who's finally become fed up with him and/or the group and left for greener pastures. She ends up befriending and assisting Max.
  • JUDITH is the perturbed critic in the group, Ira's mate, who questions how everyone else behaves as that pertains to her.
  • IRA is her more subdued mate who's excellent at digging tunnels for Max's new fort.
  • ALEXANDER is the smallest of the wild things, a goat-type creature who feels that no one listens to him.
  • DOUGLAS is a large, bird-like creature and close friend to Carol.
  • THE BULL is another in the group, a mostly silent creature.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated fantasy/drama. A few minor expletives are present, as are a handful of colorful phrases. There's brief human kissing and some creature neck nuzzling.

    Some characters strike others (one scene includes the non-graphic and accidental yanking away of an arm from a body), a young boy bites his mom on the shoulder as she tries to control him, there's some property damage (in the woods), and some slapstick style material is also present.

    The sight of the creatures (big, with huge mouths and sharp teeth/claws) might be unsettling and/or scary for some younger kids (especially when the monsters are angry), which also holds true for a few scenes of potential peril.

    Wine is briefly present, as are various instances of potentially imitative behavior. Bad attitudes are present, as is tense family material and there's brief gross-out material aimed at kids.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, all sorts of camera movement (some of it fairly bouncy handheld footage) is present throughout the film.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Max's mom and her date have wine.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Judith playfully licks Max's face with her huge (to him) tongue (designed to gross out kids).
  • After KW pulls Max from her stomach (where he was hiding from Carol), he's partly covered in related goo.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Max is a hyperactive brat toward his mom at times.
  • Max lies about his past of conquering some Vikings (all to make himself seem powerful in front of the wild things so they won't eat him).
  • Carol has anger issues and takes that out on various other characters, focusing much of that on KW for having left the group.
  • Judith views all other behavior only as she believes it regards her.
  • When KW returns with her owl friends, Carol isn't pleased and states that owls are stupid.
  • After Max asks if he can have a small, secret room in the new fort, Carol gets mad and bashes a hole into the wall.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Max sails through rough seas during a storm at night as he approaches the island. The waves are big and he nears the rocks, causing him to jump into the water and then pull the boat to shore.
  • The wild things, some of which look like monsters, with sharp teeth and claws, and that tower over Max, might be unsettling and/or frightening to some younger kids, especially when the creatures get angry.
  • Max climbs up a steep cliff, with a loose rock tumbling down (to show us how high he is).
  • About Max, Judith states that when one has a problem, one should eat it. She and the rest then surround Max with the intent of doing just that, but he yells out, "Be still" and they stop.
  • As a crown is being pulled out for him as king, Max spots some human skeletons, giving him the impression that's been the fate of past kings. Carol then lies they were there when they got there.
  • A tree starts to fall and nearly hits Carol and Max as it crashes to the ground while they try to avoid it.
  • Alexander figures out Max really isn't a king, and says he doesn't care, but tells Max not to let Carol know. That night, Max can't sleep as he watches Carol apparently having a nightmare, clawing the ground with his large claws.
  • After Max asks if he can have a small, secret room in the new fort, Carol gets mad and bashes a hole into the wall.
  • Carol tries to hit Max and then chases him through the woods where he runs into KW. She tells him to climb into her mouth to hide, and he reluctantly does. But after Carol arrives and then leaves, Max -- who's down in the stomach -- sees KW's throat starting to close (but she then pulls him out).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Woman, feed me," "Get off the damn counter," "You're not acceptable!" "Am I nuts?" "Let the wild rumpus start," "Owls are stupid" and "Can it."
  • While dressed in a wolf costume, Max chases the family dog down the steps and then wrestles with the pooch on the floor.
  • Max gets into a fun snowball fight with his sister's friends, but they get the upper hand, followed by one jumping down onto him through his snow cave, resulting in Max crying.
  • To make a scene, Max stands on the kitchen counter, and tells his mom, "Woman, feed me." His mom isn't amused and grabs him, followed by a little struggling and then him biting her on the shoulder. She drops him (he lands hard on the floor) and he then runs outside and away into the night.
  • Max and various wild things howl like dogs.
  • After Max playfully jumps onto one of them, the wild things then playfully pile on top of Max, and end up sleeping in that same pile formation.
  • KW and Max tumble down a sand dune (for fun).
  • KW throws two large rocks to knock two owls from the sky (ones she claims are her friends, but she holds them under her arms and says they like the rock treatment).
  • KW tells Max he must ask a question of just seven words to her owl friends.
  • Max splits up the wild things into two teams for a dirt clod battle where players on both sides pelt each other.
  • When instructed to show his powers, Max does some stiff robot type moves with his upper body.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 damn, 1 hell and 1 use of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Max's mom and her date briefly kiss.
  • Ira nuzzles on Judith's neck, with her telling him to stop.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • To make a scene, Max stands on the kitchen counter, and tells his mom, "Woman, feed me." His mom isn't amused and grabs him, followed by a little struggling and then him biting her on the shoulder. She drops him (he lands hard on the floor) and he then runs outside and away into the night. She chases after him but then loses sight. Later, when he returns home, she hugs him hard, grateful that he's returned.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The film's metaphors about dealing with one's emotions.
  • Max being a hyperactive kid with anger and boredom issues (Max appears to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
  • Adapting a short story into a feature-length film.
  • How the film is a story about childhood but isn't really a film for children.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Mad at losing a snowball fight (and/or a culmination of other things including her not coming to his aid), Max breaks something he had made for Claire.
  • To make a scene, Max stands on the kitchen counter, and tells his mom, "Woman, feed me." His mom isn't amused and grabs him, followed by a little struggling and then him biting her on the shoulder. She drops him (he lands hard on the floor) and he then runs outside and away into the night.
  • When Max first encounters the wild things, Carol is smashing various huts of theirs, including throwing Alexander into one. Max later joins Carol in smashing the huts, but he doesn't do much damage (due to his small size).
  • Carol bounds through the woods, but hits his head on a tree during one such jump and he lands hard on the ground (but is okay).
  • We hear that Judith and Ira are a couple, and she playfully hits him (hard) with a large branch.
  • Judith grabs Max's leg when he starts to leave, followed by KW stomping down onto her hand to make her let go.
  • KW throws two large rocks to knock two owls from the sky (ones she claims are her friends, but she holds them under her arms and says they like the rock treatment).
  • Max splits up the wild things into two teams for a dirt clod battle where players on both sides pelt each other. During that, a raccoon is thrown at Max and Carol, with the latter balling that up and throwing it back at Ira where it bites and hangs onto his nose. Max then has Douglas hurls two big dirt clods at Alexander, with the first knocking his feet out from under him and the other hitting his head.
  • Douglas accidentally trips over Carol who's fallen to the ground, followed by KW purposefully stepping onto Carol's face, angering him.
  • After Max asks if he can have a small, secret room in the new fort, Carol gets mad and bashes a hole into the wall.
  • Carol and Douglas briefly struggle, with Carol accidentally yanking off one of his friend's arms (sand or dirt pours out from the hole rather than blood).
  • Carol tries to hit Max and then chases him through the woods.



  • Reviewed October 13, 2009 / Posted October 16, 2009

    Other new reviews available this week include:

    [The Best of Me] [The Book of Life] [Fury] [Men, Women & Children] [St. Vincent]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2014 Screen It, Inc.