Movie Review: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, 2009, Directed by Spike Jonze

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, 2009
Movie Reviews

Directed by Spike Jonze
Starring: Max Records, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Dano, Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose
Review by Matthew Toffolo

SYNOPSIS:

Young, mischievous Max is sent to bed without his supper, but when his bedroom turns in to a magical jungle landscape filled with strange creatures, he embarks on a wild imaginary adventure.

I walked into this film knowing nothing. All I knew was Spike Jonze directed it and they were using the Arcade Fire song to promote it in the trailer. I also heard right before that this was based on a children’s book, but I never read it as a kid or adult.

So I saw this film with virgin eyes. And what I saw I was impressed with. This is a movie almost all of us can relate with because we’ve all been that kid who would rather live inside of our imagination than real life. And we’ve also been that adult too.

Where The Wild Things Are is a movie for everyone because this is a film about FEAR. We all have it and we all react differently to it. Our hero Max (played by 11 year old Max Records) is a young boy who is scared about his new surroundings. He’s alone and doesn’t really like it so he runs away inside of his own world.

What makes him alone is that his teacher is not aware that what he says carries a lot of weight with the children. And saying that the sun is dying might not be the best thing to say to a group of 10 year olds. His father is also gone and his mother is moving on with another man and Max doesn’t like it. And his sister is a teenager and is now living in that teenage girl world that most of them do.

So Max goes off into his own world. And when I was 10 years old I did the same thing. My own parents had their own issues and I had two older teenage sisters who were going through that stage. So in my basement I created my own world and I was the only member because it was just my imagination. And I’m sure there are millions of kids doing the same thing now.

Where The Wild Things Are gives us characters in the wilderness who are purely Max’s creation. And all of these characters are dealing with their own inner fears and loneliness. It’s like the 7 animals are all versions of his own personality. And every character just wants to find peace in their world.

But life isn’t always about peace and fun. The characters decide to create a fort where all their dreams can come true, they can always be together forever and their is a shield that doesn’t let in any fears. The fort seems to be working at first but then conflict occurs because everyone has a different idea of what happiness is.

And that’s the point of Where The Wilds Things Are. We all want to be happy and not alone all the time but sometimes a little conflict is needed in order for perspective to occur. And as we grow from kids to adults our version of happiness changes year to year. We can’t just live in a fort all the time even when you’re 10 years old. And for Max he needs to learn when it’s time to leave that fort and come back home to reality.

The most interesting character from Max’s imagination is Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini). He just wants things to remain the same all the time and when it doesn’t he doesn’t know how to handle it. His friend KW has found new friends and Carol is threatened by that because they are not what he’s familiar with. Just like how Max’s mother has a new boyfriend. Carol reacts in anger by damaging things he loves. Just like Max damages his sister’s Valentine’s present when she decides to hang around with her friends instead of him.

This is a highly fascinating movie that really deserves a second viewing because there is more than meets the eye. Max learns from his imaginary world just like an adult would by going to a therapist or writing a journal. And it’s all about how we deal with our FEARS. Something that isn’t taught for some reason in school.

Where The Wild Things Are crosses generations. A film a 5 year old can get something out of and also a 90 year old. And they said only Pixar is capable of that.

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Movie Review: ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (UA 2016) ***1/2

rogue_one_movie_poster.jpgDirector: Gareth Edwards
Writers: Chris Weitz (screenplay), Tony Gilroy (screenplay)
Stars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits

Review by Gilbert Seah

It is finally here and the world is waiting to hear how good (or bad) the $200 million production of the new Star Wars film is. For one, the filmmakers are clear to emphasize that this is a standalone story. By this, they mean that the story, set shortly before the events of the original Star Wars, is not part of the other STAR WARS films, though there are already two more films after ROGUE ONE in the making as ROGUE ONE is the first of three anthology films.

There is not much original in the story of ROGUE ONE. But there is little to disappoint. Again, the film begins with the title, “Long time ago in a galaxy far away..”, though the words are differently laid out. The scriptwriters Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta ensure the successful formula is untampered with. And there are lots of spectacle, new characters, explosions, exotic futuristic sets combined with exotic setting – space towers emerging from a tropical paradise. At times, the film feels like a James Bond film, where the hero and troops storm the villain’s lair, take him out while blowing everything up.

It all starts with the escape of young Jyn Erso as a child as she witnesses her mother shot dead and her inventor father (Mads Mikkelsen) taken away to create a planet destroyer for the Empire. With this weapon, the rebels would stand no chance of winning the battle for the galaxy.

So, the Rebel Alliance recruits the grown up Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) after freeing her from prison, to work with a team including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna from Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) to steal the design schematics of the Empire’s new superweapon, the Death Star. That is about it for the story, leaving the film plenty of time for action, spectacle and more action and more spectacle. Music is by Michael Giacchino with pieces taken from the original score by John Williams.

The enmity between Cassia and Jyn inevitably turns into romance. But the romance is executed in good taste without distraction from the action at hand. The two are just shown holding hands in the key scene.

The choice of a female protagonist heroine as in the last STAR WARS film last year is a good one, given these politically correct times. After all, Princess Lea, a key Star Wars character is female and key to the whole saga.

The main villain of the piece is played with sufficient relish by Ben Mendelsohn next to the odd appearances of Darth Vader. But the new characters that steal the show are played by Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen. Have the Chinese taken over? The new droid K-2SO,(Alan Tudyk) a Rebel-owned Imperial enforcer also makes a new welcome non-human hero.

As in last year’s THE FORCE AWAKENS, reviewers were asked not to reveal plot points or twists. In THE FORCE AWAKENS, these included the death of Hans Solo and the end appearance of Luke Skywalker. In ROGUE ONE, there ares equal surprises to please the fans.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=frdj1zb9sMY 

 

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Watch First Trailer for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY #rogueone

The new Star Wars film is coming out in December starring Felicity Jones.

Watch Trailer NOW:

 

“Rogue One” will be a prequel to the events of 1977′s “Star Wars: A New Hope,” described on the official “Star Wars” website as “the story of unlikely heroes who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.”

The cast also includes Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed and Forest Whitaker.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” arrives in theaters Dec 16.

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