Where the Wild Things Are: Movie Review

I have to admit that I’ve never read the book of “Where the Wild Things are”, or if I have, I don’t remember reading it. Of course I’ve heard of the book and I’m very familiar with a lot of the art work and images, but I really couldn’t tell you the story inside pages. When I heard that there was going to be a film about this book, I didn’t think much about it because I wasn’t familiar with the plot. What changed for me was when I first started seeing the trailers for the movie. I really liked what I saw in these brief clips and thought I should check this out and see what it’s all about.

Perspective. That’s what I feel this movie is about. The perspective of being a kid. Who doesn’t remember how different the world looked when we were younger. Not only because we were smaller at that age, but also because of our innocence. My first impression after the movie was that what I saw was not a kid’s movie. I know that it’s based on a beloved children’s book, but the story and movie I saw was geared more towards adults and their memories of childhood. This movie made me think about my own childhood and what it was like growing up. It made me look at the world as I remember it as a kid. Everything always seemed so much bigger when I was younger. I used to love the fact that I was small enough to fit into places that no adult could. One of the greatest parts of this movie is helping us to remember how it felt to be a kid again.

In this movie, Max is a complete brat. Although they never say, it seems that his mother is divorced and raising two kids. Max is the youngest and his sister is at the age of hanging with her friends and dating and being too cool to hang out with her little brother. Max doesn’t seem to have many friends either and therefore tries to do anything to get attention from his mother, his sister or his sister’s friends. His constant need for attention and getting his way comes to a boiling point when his mother tells him that his behavior is not acceptable and he breaks away from her and runs away. His mother tries to catch him but just can’t keep up. So begins his journey to the land of the wild things.

At this point in the story, you would imagine that the kid’s part of the movie would begin. Not so. When he meets the wild things, they each seem to deal with some aspect of Max’s own behavior and his own inner demons. One is lonely. One is always being ignored. One is used to getting his own way. Yet another just wants to be left alone. Unknowing how to cope with such vastly different personalities, Max must learn to cope with each monster and try to unite them together to face their lives as a united group. They make Max their king and in the process Max actually grows up and realizes how to manage these feelings and emotions himself.

One of the traits of a great movie, is that you leave the theater still thinking about it. The more I think about, the more I can envision the message being conveyed. As the years go by, I do think this will become one of the first true masterpieces of film to come out of the early 21st century. I think the kids will enjoy the movie, especially the parts with the wild things, but adults will understand the deeper meaning and remember just what it was like to be a kid and how we each began our own journey to adulthood and being more than just a kid but an adult who is just a kid at heart.

Zombieland Movie Review

zombielandMuch like the creatures that are in them, Zombie movies seem to keep coming back, as if from the dead. Ever since the father of them all, “Night of the Living Dead”, premiered, we have created a pop culture phenomenon of the brain eating undead. They seem to rise in popularity every few years, some movies being better than others and George Romero still making films that still don’t live up to his creation that started them all. However, I guarantee you that you will never see a Zombie movie like “Zombieland”. Sure, “Shaun of the Dead” is very similar in scope and humor, but “Zombieland” not only gives you the gore, scares, and humor, but it also gives us a great character driven story and totally relishes killing Zombies.
The story is much like you would expect, a disease has spread around the world turning everyone into brain hungry psychopaths. This disease stems from the mad cow disease but has been renamed the mad human disease, or something thereof. There are only a few people left in the world, just trying to survive and wipe out as many as they can. The main character Columbus, named only after the city in Ohio he is from, is a survivor hoping to make it back home to see if any family has survived. He has made it so far due to some rules he’s come up with. The rules rock and you might find yourself chanting them out loud throughout the movie like we were. Along the way, he meets some other survivors and they all decide to go together to increase their chances for survival.
The absolute best part of this movie for me was Woody Harrelson. He was incredible in this role. I honestly can’t remember any film of his that could even compare with his performance in this one. It was nice to see him return to his comedic roots. Also, Jesse Eisenberg was a great straight man. I haven’t seen a film with him in it before, but based on what I saw here, he’ll be one to look out for in the future. Lastly, there’s one cameo in the film that is completely unexpected and could be one of the great cameo in film history. You’ll know it when you see it. 
I never thought I would go to a Zombie film and have as much fun or laugh as hard as I did for “Zombieland”. This is definitely one of the funniest, if not the funniest, movies of the year.

~J. Chandler