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Where the Wild Things Are: Early Reviews

by Anne Thompson
October 14, 2009 10:23 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

Well, the reviews are rolling in on Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers' adaptation of the Maurice Sendak children's classic Where the Wild Things Are (which opens Friday), and according to the 37 assessed by Rotten Tomatoes so far, they are mixed, at 68%. David Denby's New Yorker review shares my view that the beginning of the film is brilliant and the interactions on the island with the wild things are talky and unsatisfying. Denby says kids will come out of the movie wondering why the animals are so sad.

[Illustration courtesy of The New Yorker.]

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More: Stuck In Love, Reviews, Critics


  • Chelle Norlund | April 30, 2010 3:10 AMReply

    Hi, my name is Chelle Norlund & I just got a question that keeps bugging me. (I'm new to this.)
    Do you all think there'll be a sequel to the movie; Where The Wild Things Are? If so, what will happen to Max? Will he go back to the island of the Wild Things? And what will happen to Carol? Will he get to apologize to Max & will he get to see Max again?
    And do you think all of the Wild Things are going to go see Max on Max's island? Yes or No?

  • Brian | October 19, 2009 8:13 AMReply

    I'm in New York, too, Justin, and you're right, I don't mind not being taken seriously.

  • justin | October 16, 2009 7:13 AMReply

    uh, this film is obviously not in the the wheelhouse of j. hoberman. i can't imagine a man who would put a david lynch film in any kind of best of list is really going to appreciate spike jonze or maurice sendak. and, brian, please. i'm from new york. and in new york, we don't quote the post, unless we don't mind not being taken seriously.

  • Brian | October 16, 2009 5:20 AMReply

    J. Hoberman in the Village Voice, one of the few critics today worthy of the name, says about the film, "What's weakest is its blandness, the sense memory of a child raised on Sesame Street. The psychic environment is less King Kong's Skull Island than Fred Rogers's neighborhood: Where the Wild Things Aren't." He closes his review by saying, "it seemed like group therapy with the muppets."

    Lou Lumenick gave it 2 stars in the New York Post, saying, "they haven't supplied any kind of plot that would keep an adult like myself (who didn't grow up on the book) fully engaged. And I really wonder how kids will respond to a talky, neurosis-driven movie that's this light on action."

  • starcrosser | October 16, 2009 4:50 AMReply

    uhm, arikira, Charlie Kaufman directed Synechdoche, just thought you should know. but i get what you mean

  • Ryan | October 15, 2009 9:46 AMReply


  • Drew | October 15, 2009 3:35 AMReply


    I love Spike's work, too, but if you're going to defend him, you should get his filmography right. He didn't direct "Synecdoche, New York." Charlie Kaufman did. Spike hasn't made a film since 2002.

  • arikira | October 15, 2009 3:06 AMReply

    Sergio, you're not grumpy, you just have no idea what you're talking about. To say Spike Jonze's films are boring and pointless is missing the fact that millions of cinephiles thinkers, and everyday people find his films enthralling and meaningful.

    Instead of being closed-minded, cynical, and critical, you should try to figure out what, in fact, people seem to LOVE about Spike and the films he makes.

    Let's review his recent filmography:
    Being John Malkovich
    Synecdoche, New York

    These are three of the smartest, most engaging, and challenging (in that they deal with meaningful issues) movies made in recent years. So what gives, Sergio? Where in the world are you coming from with all your smack-talk???

  • bradley | October 15, 2009 3:02 AMReply

    nobody's saying don't see it because the reviews are mixed. if you want to see it, then see it. but the reviews are what they are. this site covers the film industry and like it or not, how a film is received by critics is part of the story, just the like box office receipts will be part of the story. This is a highly anticipated release by an acclaimed director from a classic book. It has a budget of 100 million and it's been in the making for seven years. Why ignore the reviews when you're covering the story? How is the good journalism?

  • Don Murphy | October 15, 2009 2:12 AMReply

    I have a stunning idea- see the film for yourself and decide. It looks original and I don't care what Rex Reed thinks either way. Critics are so ten years ago

  • Sergio | October 15, 2009 2:03 AMReply


    O.K. I get it. You're a snobby intellectual who's thinks they know more than everyone else. I stand corrected.

    Oh yeah I forgot, Jonzs also produced those Jackass movies. I knew there was something did that I actually ENJOYED! Ten times more entertaining then anything he's directed

  • bradley | October 15, 2009 1:59 AMReply

    i agree that rotten tomatoes sucks, but metacritic has the score even lower at 60% (and there are no bloggers included).

  • Chandloski | October 14, 2009 12:43 PMReply

    So true, Don Murphy.

  • Don Murphy | October 14, 2009 12:17 PMReply

    Rotten Tomatoes includes retards with blogs and no qualifications. Rotten Tomatoes doesn't mean shit. People that cite Rotten Tomatoes don't seem very smart. Sorry.

  • Sergio | October 14, 2009 12:06 PMReply

    Call me grumpy but I found the film boring and pointless...just like Spike Jonze's other films

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