This movie is not about 9yr olds but it is a movie on being a 9yr old and how different his world can be. Spike Jonze‘s film is relatable to kids but might be too dark for them to comprehend. If you have ever gone through that age, then you should understand and feel what Max (Max Records) felt, but the whole so called emotional experience never came and instead turned out to be a stunning visual fest.
Max comes from a broken home. He has a globe in his bedroom of the world gifted by his dad which says owner of the world, but Max has little control even over his own small world. His older sister Claire ignores him. He intentionally starts a snowball fight with some of her friends, then dives inside his igloo for protection, they jump on it and bring it down, all in tears, there is no one around to console him. Later that night, he finds his mom flirting with a person who is a total stranger to him and he feels that no one is bothered about him.
This is right about when he goes a little nuts and starts trying to seek his mom’s attention. His mom yells at him, as if there was something wrong with him, and Max takes it in the wrong sense and starts running away from home. Till that point, the movie was brilliant. It was going at a good pace, maybe too fast, they should have focussed a bit more on Max before he ran away from home.
Max runs all the way to the shore, gets hold of a sailboat and goes sailing on the oceans till he boat wrecks on an island. He has this unbelievable curiosity to know and look for things, that he finds the home of some creatures who looks unfriendly at first, but later proclaims Max to be the king of the island. There’s Carol, the big, grumpy person who always likes to wreck things, more or less like Max and his swinging feelings. KW is like his sister, always trying to stay from the pack, and preferring to hang out with her new pals, the owls Bob and Terry. Max thought he found a new family, but things started to get messy again.
He struggles to find ways to express himself. As he wrestles to understand his emotions, he creates his own imaginary world, one that compliments his conflicting emotions and desires. Perhaps children may not fully understand the film, but they are also not able to fully understand themselves.
Visually, it is stunning. The animation is top-notch and every scene looks brilliant. The ‘wild things’ are wonderful to look at. Max Records as Max is excellent. He is obviously very talented, and possesses an emotional intensity unusual for a child actor. The voice actors for the creatures did an adequate job as well, as well as the minor characters.
The ending seemed sudden, and it felt there was a need to end the film early. There was a little emotional scene at the end, but before it could develop, the movie ends and that was really disappointing. The script, directing, cinematography, acting was all great but there was something missing. It started off emotionally intense, but somewhere in between the wild things, Max was lost. At one point he seemed happy, but the very next moment, he would seem sad and devastated. The audience will get caught having a mixed feeling towards Max, whether to be happy for him or feel sad for him. That is a bit confusing and leaves you with something hollow to think about while leaving the theater.
I guess what was missing would be the warmth and satisfaction both for Max and the viewers, but the way the ending took place, those feelings could never have been expressed. Spike Jonze has made a masterpeice which stops a bit short of the finish line.