Profoundly beautiful and affecting, Where the Wild Things Are is a breath-
taking act of artistic transubstantiation.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Where the Wild Things Are is an alternately perfect and imperfect if always beautiful adaptation of the Maurice Sendak children's book.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Anyone looking for some idiosyncratic, visually stimulating entertainment this week could do worse than Where Is Where?
Jeannette Catsoulis - New York Times
Jonze's Wild Things is an altogether darker, colder picture: a film about the way children can lose their fear of the world only by losing their innocence.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Where the Wild Things Are is a fiercely innovative film with surprising texture and nuance. It captures the joy and exuberance of childhood without shying away from its very real pains and woes.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
[Jonze has] achieved with the cinematic medium what Sendak did with words and pictures: He's grasped something true and terrifying about love at its most unconditional and voracious.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
The movie is a wild thing, and that's not such a bad thing at all.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Wild Things isn't overlong, but it is underwhelming.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
The film treats kids' inner lives as more than a fantasy, which is a rare and beautiful thing.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Where the Wild Things Are honors the book in every imaginable way, and in ways no one could have imagined until Spike Jonze and his collaborators came along.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Director Spike Jonze gets that Max's subsequent journey to the far-off island of the wild things is nothing less than an odyssey into his mind.
Nancy Churnin - Dallas Morning News
Spike Jonze, we salute you.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
"Where the Wild Things Are" is a great film because, for all of its wonder and magic and delight, it also knows about confusion and reality and sadness.
James Rocchi - MSN Movies
Instead of being bombarded by computer illusions, we're allowed to suspend our disbelief, to bring our own imaginations into play. For all the artfulness, the feel of the film is rough-hewn, almost primitive. It's a fabulous tree house of a movie.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
I have a vision of eight-year-olds leaving the movie in bewilderment. Why are the creatures so unhappy?
David Denby - New Yorker
The plot is simple stuff, spread fairly thin in terms of events but portentous in terms of meaning. It comes down to: What is right? -- a question that children often seek answers to.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
There's a certain amount of pain in Where the Wild Things Are, but it's completely earned. The movie fills you with all sorts of feelings, and I suspect children will recognize those feelings as their own.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
A fairly beguiling screen experience, though by the end of its 101 minutes I was definitely ready for bed.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
With Sendak's blessing, and with the aid of writer Dave Eggers, who teamed on the screenplay, Jonze has transformed the iconic picture book into a satisfyingly moody, melancholy, madcap live-action romp.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
In an era glutted with sanitized, prefabricated, computer-generated kids' stuff, this is an experience of sophisticated cross-generational appeal. It digs deep into childhood's bright, manic exuberance and also its confusion and gloom.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Intellectually interesting, visually arresting and filled with invention, there's just one crucial thing Where the Wild Things Are is missing: wildness.
Tom Long - Detroit News
There is some real magic here. But there is also the feeling that something's missing, that Max's journey isn't quite complete; the dour mood of the monsters doesn't help.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Something doesn't quite jell, and no matter how gorgeous each set piece is, it doesn't always entirely add up to a complete and satisfying narrative. I couldn't help but think, from time to time, how on earth were these guys allowed to make this movie?
Sara Vilkomerson - New York Observer
Director Spike Jonze's sharp instincts and vibrant visual style can't quite compensate for the lack of narrative eventfulness that increasingly bogs down this bright-minded picture.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Some very good books were just never meant to be turned into movies. Sadly, you can now add Maurice Sendak's 1963 classic Where the Wild Things Are to that list.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
As a children's film, it's a bore. And as a grand film enterprise, Where the Wild Things Are skirts the line between folly and fiasco.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
It's a joy for thinking moviegoers of any age. It doesn't seek to "keep out all the sadness," yet neither does it wallow in gloom. Instead it presents childhood as a journey filled with things both wonderful and fearful, and ultimately all of the mind.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
The film is lacking as a whole -- it's individual moments and scenes that make it worth seeing.
Eric D. Snider - Film.com
Wild Things, you do not make my heart sing.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
Jonze's ideas, visual and otherwise, spill out in a faux-philosophical ramble that isn't nearly as deep as he thinks it is; at best, it's a scrambled tone poem. Even the look of the picture becomes tiresome after a while.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
Jonze and Eggers' approach to the book is both original and well-intentioned; it's clear that they take both Sendak and childhood seriously (though not as seriously as they take themselves). It's just too bad the end result isn't a better movie.
Dana Stevens - Slate
The result is an involving experience for all but the most fidgety children and an opportunity for parents to enjoy (rather than endure) a motion picture with their offspring.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A reverential but uninvolving adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic illustrated book for children.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
It's a gorgeous film: This may sound contradictory, but it's intricate and rough-hewn at the same time, dreamlike and earthy.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
The beasts are recognizable from Sendak's pages, but Jonze gives them names and distinct personalities that connect to aspects of Max's psyche and to the people he loves. (Freud would adore this movie.)
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
For all the money spent, the film's success is best measured by its simplicity and the purity of its innovation. Jonze has filmed a fantasy as if it were absolutely real, allowing us to see the world as Max sees it, full of beauty and terror.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Sometimes you are better off with 10 sentences than tens of millions of dollars, and this is one of those times.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Jonze has created a world in which even "wild things" can be full of personality and fun to be around.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Scott A. Mantz - Scott Mantz' Movie Reviews
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
Stretches to spectacular, big-screen proportions the soaring, roaring fancy of Maurice Sendak's classic 1963 bedtime tale.
Neil Pond - American Profile
Dean Essner - Dark Horizons
It's kind of astonishing when something this odd slips through the cracks of the Hollywood mainstream.
Dave White - Movies.com
Mark Kermode - BBC Radio Five Live
If you want something light and fluffy to take the kids to see, you're better off looking elsewhere.
Mike Edwards - Obsessed With Film
Mike Edwards - What Culture
It's almost as if they were afraid to redefine the book, and left things as free-floating and ambiguous as possible. ... it's all meandering, abstract non-story that isn't helped by the muddy color palette
Matt Kelemen - Las Vegas CityLife
This is not a coming-of-age film. It's an end-of-innocence film. And that makes every moment, be it funny or sad, so beautiful and so heartbreaking at the same time. You'll want to hug it and hold onto it, as if it were your childhood sailing away.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
If you ever laughed uncontrollably while engaged in a childhood snowball fight, built intricate forts out of your grandmother's afghan blankets, or made up the rules to complex playground games, in the middle of the game, then this film is for you.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
A beautiful and languid testament to the importance of remembering how powerful our childhoods really were.
Nick Deigman - Fan The Fire
Never having read the book, it must be better than this.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
For me, it was a hard, uphill climb just to say I'd reached the top.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
Sendak sums up the joy and miracle of creative passion, even as he acknowledges dreaded mortality lurking in the existential shadows.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
Where the Wild Things Are imaginatively evokes the childhood fears and wonders experienced when trying to make sense of the world.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Uma especie de "Anticristo" Jr., o filme abraca o universo psicologico de seu protagonista como estrutura narrativa, levando o espectador para uma viagem por vezes perturbadora - mas sempre tocante - a psique de Max.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
The conversations and interactions [Jonze] orchestrates, whether real, imaginary, spoken with an inner voice, or cried aloud, are delivered with the unmistakable rhythm and in the grandiose rubber and glue terminology of children.
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
Bring the Prozac . . .
James O'Ehley - fantastiqueZINE
It's a divisive and sometimes difficult film, but if you let it into your heart, you'll end up grateful.
James White - SFX Magazine
Exploring the mind of an angry little boy, Where the Wild Things Are is an psychological exploratory fantasy of intriguing depth.
Wesley Lovell - Oscar Guy
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
The script is brilliant, lacing the dialogue with dark, melancholy humour and subtly ensuring that almost every line, visual or action on the island echoes something from Max's real life.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
From that belting opening shot to the emotional gut- punch of an ending, I was bewitched by it. In fact, Wild Things... I think I love you.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Loud, narcotised, emotionally stunted, it's so eager to avoid the horrors of mainstream commodity culture that it concocts a defensive version of pre-adulthood.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
Jonze's inventive approach to Maurice Sendak's classic children's book continually confounds our expectations with an approach that's so offhanded and fresh that it might feel awkward or strange. But it's a real grower.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
An uncommonly sobering yet ethereal kiddie flick.
Dean Essner - Digital Spy
It is one of those films that reveals the power of film itself, and you can feel delighted that this beautiful story, with its oddness and its great capacity for wonder, has survived in a perfect way the transition to screen.
Andrew O'Hagan - This is London
A film for anyone who's ever climbed trees, grazed knees or basked in the comfort of a parent's sympathy as they've pulled you off the ground crying. It'll make your inner child run wild.
Dan Jolin - Empire Magazine
'Where the Wild Things Are' stands out for its unusually potent evocation of the timbre of childhood imagining, with its combination of the outre and the banal, grand schemes jumbled up with delicate feelings and the urge to smash things up.
Ben Walters - Time Out
His visualisation is a joy on the eyeballs.
Stephen Daultrey - Maxim [UK]
I have no idea what Jonze and Eggers are trying to say here, either to children or to adults, but it's difficult to imagine how they could have made a more tedious and exasperating attempt at it.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
Jonze's inspired evocation of childhood may strike a chord with adults; for younger audience members still living it, the appeal is far from certain.
Charles Gant - Heat Magazine
A poignant dissection of youth with nine-foot furry monsters, gorgeous production design, frenetic camerawork and a playful, wistful score from Karen O. Never mind the little ones. This beauty will have most grown-ups blubbing.
Rosie Fletcher - Total Film
It moves smoothly from the sublime to the ridiculous, it inhabits the dual worlds of fantasy and reality, and articulates something profoundly simple about both.
Matt Bochenski - Little White Lies
Not as easy or airbrushed as Potter, Ice Age, or Narnia then, but with its darkness, loneliness, and wonder, it might be the most honest kids' film of the year.
Rob Daniel - Sky Movies
In some respects, Jonze is the geek who never grew up: and with Where The Wild Things Are, he reminds us that the simple pleasure of childhood is running around and screaming with abandon.
Michael Bonner - Uncut Magazine [UK]
This is filmmaking hard-wired straight to the heart: wild, untamed and quite, quite brilliant.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
It's hard to conclude this is a film for children but it will provide any adult with a bittersweet reminder of childhood's distant joys and woes.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
It's all very charming and quirky... But it's also, ultimately, a little flimsy and unlikely to achieve anything like the iconic status of its source material.
Wendy Ide - Times [UK]
Jonze has created one of the most offbeat, original and interesting films of the year. It's just a pity he didn't make it more accessible for children - and remove it a lot farther from the therapist's couch.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Whereas many child actors make you feel a little bit sick, Records is astounding in the lead role.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Shouldn't therapy, at least in art for or about childhood, be fun? The book was entrancing. The book deserved better. Happily there is still time, before the world ends, for someone else to film it. For now: return to Sendak.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
The effects are spot-on, little Max Records is ace as the story's boisterous nine-year-old hero while the film mostly avoids the treacle that mars so many kids' pics.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Don't go expecting joyous escapism, but if you're interested in seeing melancholic auteur filmmaking, complete with a lush soundtrack... you won't see a more compelling film this year.
Catherine Bray - Film4
[Jonze's] take on Maurice Sendak's much-loved children's book does offer plenty of wildness and wackiness, although it's also unusually sombre.
Stella Papamichael - Radio Times
This is how you make a kids film...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
A gloomy, self-conscious art movie version of the children's book that received the benediction of the author which should tell you something about the dubious value of the source material.
Louis Proyect - rec.arts.movies.reviews
It's also too adult in its concerns to be fully understood by most children. And paradoxically, it's also too child-like in its construction to be appreciated by most adults.
Leigh Paatsch - Daily Telegraph (Australia)
...a total collapse of coherent storytelling--disconnected scenes of running, jumping, throwing, thrashing, and destroying interspersed with languid stretches of navel gazing (read: moping).
Rubin Safaya - Cinemalogue.com
The film has the handmade quality and intimacy that Jonze so clearly was after, but it lingers too much in a kind of dragging, adult sadness that feels too overwrought for the film's inner child.
Kate Jinx - Concrete Playground
Occupying that realm somewhere between a complete mess and a flawed masterpiece.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
Imagination is the real star of Sendak's classic and Jonze and his co-writer, Dave Eggers, have expanded on its brief text to spin a story in which the tough and the tender smoothly coalesce.
Sandra Hall - Sydney Morning Herald
Jonze evokes the amplified emotions of childhood, from jubilation to despair, with such a well crafted sense of timing that he carries us along for the ride.
Jason Di Rosso - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
What we have here is a challenging, psychological rendering of a child's classic that may indeed be too unexciting and melancholy for kids, and too unstructured to be fully appreciated by adults.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Those hoping for a fun-lovin' romp through the kooky world of Max and his zany monster pals are likely to be disappointed.
Dean Essner - Time Out Sydney
It's a strange thing that this story has had such a hold over generations of children, it's quite a dark tale. And that darkness is in the film.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
Jonze has succeeded splendidly in making a movie about the challenges of childhood, and it's likely the material will resonate more with the adults who read Wild Things to their children rather than delight the children themselves.
Des Partridge - Courier Mail (Australia)
Young actor Max Records gives a terrific performance that captures both the uncertainty and the rampaging energy of his character.
Philippa Hawker - The Age (Australia)
The real beauty of Where The Wild Things Are comes with its simplicity. With only minimal plot to work with, Jonze instead makes this a weird, funky mood piece, finding an odd but highly effective rhythm on which the film joyously floats.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
If Sendak's book spoke directly to the child inside all of us, Spike Jonze's film adaptation lets it run wild for 100 magical minutes.
Anders Wotzke - Cut Print Review
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
This film is not for me, but I do recognise its accomplishments and see how it appeals to the fan base, and how the young Max's journey connects with youngsters
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
A heartfelt expression of the blacks, whites, and greys of childhood emotions as Jonze understands it, and he does deserve credit for presenting them with an ugly realism.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
A wildly mixed bag. With its mix of live action, computer animation and puppetry, there is plenty that is wonderful, yet there are some irritating aspects. Like the manic hand-held camera. However, young Max Records' performance is sensational
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
I think it's brave and smart and expects its audience to be the same: it refuses to spoonfeed what it's doing to anyone.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
Wild Things might have been just another crass cartoon. Most filmmakers would have made the monsters' wild rumpus the film's raison d'etre. Instead, Jonze and Eggers have crafted a poetic, personal interpretation.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
Occasionally I will mitigate opinions when I reviewing a film I know carries an emotional charge for people... to impart a sense of fairness. This is not one of those times. Where The Wild Things Are made me want to punch someone in the face.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
Feelings of loss and frustration, acted out so loudly, raucously, and repeatedly, are at the center of Where the Wild Things Are.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
The emotionality that is aspired to doesn't rise to the occasion and leaves you as deprived of dramatic nourishment as the poor boy who went to bed without his supper.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
Jonze creates perhaps the most artful film aimed at children since The Red Balloon, and one with unusually deep emotional resonance.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
Jonze's choice to once again drain the color from the film and use hand-held camera amidst the surreal is what gives Where the Wild Things Are a strange naturalism different from all other films that tend to be aimed at children.
Adam Lippe - Examiner.com
The book is about anger, while the film is as much about sadness. Here is a film broken-hearted over the messiness of the world. It is sad, and beautiful, and true.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
When it's over you just want to sit there and sigh for awhile then go home and have a cup of tomato soup and a grilled cheese and be tucked into bed and cry yourself to sleep. As long as mom is nearby.
Richard Knight - Windy City Times
Odd pacing nearly trips up Wild Things.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
In many respects, a creative triumph. The film is visually stunning, and the writing is equally fresh.
Carolyn Arends - Christianity Today
What stays with you is the sadness. There's an almost unbearable undertow of melancholy in director Spike Jonze's awkward, arty adaptation of Maurice Sendak's 1963 picture book.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Jonze and Eggers do an admirable, and at times alchemic, job of transforming the slim volume into something decidedly weightier in terms of plot without sacrificing the essence of the book's focus on the darker edges of childhood
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
The fact that Jonze and Eggers are revealing so much of themselves in this emotionally crabbed tribute to the unending hell of childhood is itself reason to see the film.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
They're all militantly dreary, like a Prozac-starved version of the seven dwarfs. (There's Lugubrious, Needy, Fretful, Disconsolate, Remorseful...)
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
Charming, affecting and heartbreaking. It could have gone wrong in any number of ways, but never does
Stephen Silver - The Trend
It's all very clever and very creative. It's intellectually stimulating. But how much of it actually had any emotional impact?
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
An intimate epic, Jonze's film is nearly unique among modern kid fare for its total lack of condescension to the core audience.
Rob Nelson - minnpost.com
A near-perfect live-action adaptation ... Where the Wild Things Are is a brilliantly conceived and artfully realized translation of Sendak's beloved story.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Better not set foot, hoof or paw on this isle of pain.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Much like Eyes Wide Shut or a David Lynch film, Where the Wild Things Are works on the level of the conscious and subconscious.
Tim Grierson - The Simon
For grown-ups, Jonze's exploration of Max's imaginary world is a wonder.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
A work of genuine imagination and intelligence that doesn't try to ram the same old feel-good platitudes down our collective throat.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
It's less ABOUT a kid and more about BEING a kid.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Regardless of whether or not the film means anything at all, it is a triumph of visual imagination, production and set design and costuming.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Too dark for children; too dull for adults
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Where the Wild Things Are is the least fantastical fantasy and the most raw, honest, personal and magical film about childhood angst since ... ever?
Gina Carbone - Seacoast Newspapers (NH/Maine)
Jonze's determination to connect adults to existential concepts of childhood is a risky move for a film that perhaps falls several risks short of brilliance.
Michelle Orange - Movieline
Anybody that says this isn't a kids' film is misunderstanding the point. This movie gets at the heart of what it's like to be a kid...one of the best films of the year.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Maybe fun viewing for some kids, but even most eight year olds will want more story than this.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
While the book works fine for the younger set, the film tries to be too much an Alice-in-Wonderland-class story for all ages, but it rarely works for both young and old at the same time.
Mark R. Leeper - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Gene Siskel Once Said Non-Human Character Work or Don't Work Based on Their Eyes and There's a Lot Going On Behind Them Here.
Jimmy O - Film Snobs
Uneven ... Yet it has a beauty and integrity and wildness of its own - it's clear this is a film that just loves the book.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
It's not a kid's movie. It's not a movie for kids. It's a movie made from the mindset of a child, and it's a job well done.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
A haunting, innovative, and poignant film about childhood that may have you howling with the Wild Things inside and around you.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Like most classic fairy tales, "Where the Wild Things Are" offers hints of danger and a few scary moments. ...
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
All of the actors do incredible work, with Gandolfini giving a performance that is award worthy
Michael A. Smith - Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Ever so slowly runs out of the story's magical ingredients.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Thanks to both the added story elements and the visual choices, there is barely a drop of "magical" to be found; it's neither wondrous nor scary.
Andy Klein - Brand X
This is a strange (and moving) heffalump indeed, a future cult classic if ever there was one.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
The choices of style, music, costumes, facial features, and every other little detail make this one of the most breathtaking productions I've seen all year.
Danny Minton - Fort Bend Sun
A 48-page, 9 sentence book like Where the Wild Things Are requires a lot of fill. Nine sentences leaves too much room for screenwriter Dave Eggers less-than-wild imagination.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Sure, Where the Wild Things Are is darker than Dracula's sunset cup of Joe. And it may have a smaller potential audience than Lamaze'ing with the Stars. But I don't care.
Mike Ward - Richmond.com
Spike Jonze is an original cinematic voice but in the end you just wish he left this on the bookshelf where it belongs.
Pete Hammond - Back Stage
A perfect example of movie making at its best and is a crowd-pleasing adaptation that captures everything that initially made its source material so revered.
Jeffrey Lyles - Gazette (MD)
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
Like the wild things inhabiting Max's world, it's fascinating but also lumbering -- and (to paraphrase The Troggs) it's unlikely to make everyone's heart sing.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
I truly hope I never turn into the kind of person who isn't able to enjoy a movie like this.
Kevin N. Laforest - Montreal Film Journal
Where the Wild Things Are is too quirky for the kids and too scattered for grown ups, but boy does it come close to capturing the book's eternal appeal.
Christian Toto - What Would Toto Watch?
Let's pronounce Spike Jonze the King of All Wild Things!
Kit Bowen - The Movie Kit
Jonze's 'Wild Things' is a masterpiece in direction and cinematography but needs work in the pacing department.
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
While not quite the horror show that the movie of The Cat In The Hat turned out to be, this is a far cry from feel-good family entertainment
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
It has its problems to be sure, but then again so does Max... and like Max, it learns to makes peace with them before time runs out.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
The title isn't a question, but the movie provides an answer: Everywhere.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Interview: From the looks of things, you'd think Where the Wild Things Are director Spike Jonze is more than just Max Records' director. You'd think Jonze was his 12-year-old star's father, too.
Adam Fendelman - HollywoodChicago.com
An odd cinematic experience that's visually stunning, but emotionally lacking.
Scott A. Mantz - Access Hollywood
On a purely surface level, even the expanded story feels like the book.
Fred Topel - Sci Fi Wire
Where the Wild Things Are is too simple to be understood by adults. Only a child can truly grasp it (even though this film is in no way intended for them). Reach down deep and find the child who still lives within you.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
The result is a picture of considerable vision (this is a Spike Jonze film), but one that feels still-born. It traipses from one set-piece incident to the next without gathering much imaginative power, and it's low on thrills.
Kurt Loder - MTV
This blend of the real and unreal is successful because Jonze's feeling for childhood binds everything together.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Ambitiously conceived, daringly produced, and with a lingering power that's akin to some of the most beloved family films ever made.
Brian Tallerico - Movie Retriever
Spike Jonze, along with director of photography Lance Acord, has brought to life this classic and made it a visual stunner.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
More effective birth control than condoms.
Phil Villarreal - OK! Magazine
Sendak's book crackled with the combustible energy of adolescent anarchy and creative play -- two elements severely lacking from Spike Jonze's mopey, withdrawn feature-length adaptation.
Sean O'Connell - Charlotte Weekly
You aren't likely to find a more eclectic group of actors providing the voices.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
Spike Jonze has gone to great lengths to make Where The Wild Things Are feel magical, mysterious, dangerous and enthralling, but doesn't have the story to make it happen.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Has brilliant production values and inspiring messages, but it's ultimately too uneven, contrived and unimaginative while failing to thoroughly entertain adults and children simultaneously.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
What I love about the film is that director Spike Jonze and co-writer Dave Eggers, as well as producer Sendak, have made a film for themselves.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
"Where the Wild Things Are" was always a fun book as a child. However it is a daunting task to turn a short story into a feature film.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
As audacious experiments go, it is a flawed one, but unforgettably so.
Kevin Williamson - Jam! Movies
Where the Wild Things Are is audacious in its refusal to be reassuring, which makes it hard to love, but also hard to dismiss.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
See it, but only once.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
The film encourages embracing all that we are, but it's not presumptuous to suggest what "it" is, as it differs for every child. Profoundly thoughtful, unexpectedly moving, adventurous in spirit and unforgettable, it's one of the best films of 2009.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
Aimlessly trudging through woods or desert, sniping and clawing at each other, Carol and his fellow wild things come to resemble the H.R. Pufnstuf crew on downers.
Scott Von Doviak - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The pacing of Where the Wild Things Are is undoubtedly going to divide audiences, there's no denying that. All I can say is I am on the side of those who are glad Jonze decided to let the wild rumpus start.
Adam Tobias - Watertown Daily Times
Sometimes-dark adaptation focuses on friendship, loneliness.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
Scott Von Doviak - Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
really isn't a kids' movie as much as it is a movie for those of us who used to be kids
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
There isn't a whole lot of narrative, but there's a ton of emotional truth.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
Jonze's camera gazes upon Carrol and company just like countless readers have, and thus "Where the Wild Things Are" tributes and adds to its inspiration.
Matthew Sorrento - Film Threat
Spike Jonze's new film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's children's classic 'Where the Wild Things' Are is more admirable than enjoyable.
Dan Lybarger - eFilmCritic.com
[V]ery much itself, confident and certain and no more and no less than what it needs to be, if the goal were merely to transfer Sendak to the big screen...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
It's a coming-of-age fairy tale, delivered with remarkable subtlety, patience, and confidence in its young audience.
Eugene Novikov - AMCtv.com
A fine conversation piece for gifted kids%u2014assuming parents willing to talk to their kids about their feelings...also a fascinating psychological study for adults looking back on the roiling emotions of childhood.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
So self-conscious about being a return to an earlier era of family filmmaking it never gets under your skin in the visceral, immersive way it should.
Robert Levin - Critic's Notebook
The film lacks the menace and danger of Sendak's book, along with the beautiful simplicity and delicated, understated portrait of a lonely, misunderstood boy.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
It's a blurry vision that comes into focus only intermittently.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Spike Jonze's beautifully audacious and sadly flawed film brings Maurice Sendak's much-beloved, nine-sentence children's story to vivid, CGI-enhanced life. If only he had kept it a short story.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Parental Content Review
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Where the Wild Things Are is far more admirable than it is enjoyable. There's not much of a story to this flight of fancy (more on this later), but Jonze's adaptation is crafted with a striking visual design and a powerful central child performance. In fa
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
Angry boy runs away and names himself king of big, violent muppets. He never once misses his frantic mother. Back home, he gets rewarded with cake.
Victoria Alexander - Movie Reviews in Croatian
You never completely lose their feeling for the little guy, but by the end you feel a bit like Max's mom. Once you know he's safe, you're more than ready to drift into deep sleep.
Michael Sragow - Baltimore Sun
With a rebellious youth and angry behavior by sinister characters there is nothing uplifting for kids or adults.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
If only Jonze's reverence for Sendak's book had resulted in a representation as sharp, imaginative and magical as his source material instead of this flat, disjointed disappointment.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
Does indeed deserve admiration for its loving actualization of Sendak's world ... but the movie's dissertation-like expansion of the story never truly comes together into anything meaningful.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
To be clear, this is not a shameful debacle like the wretched feature films of Dr. Seuss books released in the last decade, for which I hope all involved will someday pay a grisly and immortal price. But it is a film that deflates you too often...
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Jonze and Eggers have a firm grasp on the way a child's joy can quickly turn to tears, but they squeeze hard and can't let go. The film is essentially a parade of negative emotions -- sorrow, anger, jealousy, regret.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Jonze takes great pains to make Wild Things a freewheeling, naive-primitive work.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
It not only manages to bring a beloved classic to the screen in a manner that perfectly captures the spirit of the book but expands and build on its themes and ideas in ways that are both enormously engaging and strikingly powerful.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
It's a qualified pleasure, now, to say that the movie is not a disaster -- in fact, parts of it are miraculous -- and that it is still, very much, a Spike Jonze movie.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
In this amazing, if not perfect adaptation, the filmmakers subtly create an alternate reality for Max...and they have done it in an incredibly imaginative and moving way.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Heartfelt, whimsical, well-performed... and pretty damned boring.
David Foucher - EDGE Boston
Bold and cinematic, at once wondrously epic yet achingly intimate and honest. Touting it as this century's answer to 1939's The Wizard of Oz would not be flagrant hyperbole.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
Spike Jonze has recently said in interviews that his chief goal in adapting Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are was to try to capture the feeling of being 9. By that measure -- by just about any measure, really -- he succeeded wildly.
Josh Modell - AV Club
I don't want to oversell the thing. It is, quite simply, something very special indeed.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Children's literature is filled with loss, fear and sorrow, and we can only imagine how such stories pinball around a child's developing subconscious. And such concerns are the live-action film's speculative springboard.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jonze and Eggers have added a lot without betraying a thing.
Scott Foundas - L.A. Weekly
Maurice Sendak's spare, poetic, and deeply wise book has been lovingly unfolded into a movie about the child -- and the wild things -- who live in all of us.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
Where the Wild Things Are is a beautifully done film that kids may not appreciate.
Vic Holtreman - ScreenRant
As an understated work of spectacle, or maybe a spectacular work of understatement, Jonze's latest film is not only his best to date, but a monstrous achievement in its own right - with or without the big furry creatures.
Todd Gilchrist - Cinematical
Some children, I think, will love this film, some will find it frightening, and some will be bored. Adults, likely, will experience it the same way.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
There's no coddling going on in this immersive live-action film, which, like a dream, is both eerily matter-of-fact and fantastical.
John P. McCarthy - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
absolutely amazing, as scary and beautiful as being a kid all over again.
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
It's as honest a tale of being a child as you'll find on screen...
Sean Axmaker - Seanax.com
a captivating, visually stunning production that fleshes out Sendak's universe while remaining completely faithful to the book.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
the rare work of art in any media that actually evokes the experience of sadness, the sensation of melancholy, the mechanism of regret. We're lucky to have it.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
It's a faithful but occasionally downbeat fantasy-drama. And it really looks great.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
The resulting movie isn't for young children. I'm not sure it's for grown-ups, either -- not unless they're into boredom.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Spike Jonze obviously has his heart in the right place here, but extending something so perfectly concise, so willingly brief, to an absurd length invites more trouble than triumph. The rumpus runs out of steam quickly.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Without a smirk, the film stands out from the many pop-culture-laden, wisecracking studio franchises.
Kent Turner - School Library Journal
Where the Wild Things Are may not be a great film for children (or, at least, most children). But it is something rarer still: a great, and unsparing, film about childhood.
Christopher Orr - New Republic
The sort of innovative storytelling that will see Where the Wild Things Are mentioned in the same breath as some of the best family films ever made.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Christopher Orr - The New Republic
There's so very much to like about Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers' adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved book Where the Wild Things Are, but it winds up being a well-crafted vehicle that never soars.
Alonso Duralde - MSNBC
Where The Wild Things Are is beautiful, but it is also a mess.
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
The most daring kid's-movie adaptation since Altman's still-avant-garde Popeye from 1980.
Armond White - New York Press
I can't speak for the kids, but I would rate Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's 40-page children's picture book up there with Up and WallE as topping the recent renaissance in children's movies.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
One appreciates the mixture of fidelity and imagination that Jonze has lavished on Sendak's little book, but in the end the magic spark that marks a classic eludes him.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
...gets one thing crucially right about the 1963 Maurice Sendak picture book on which it's based: Max, the young hero, is not a nice kid.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
Like little Max's internal struggles, my feelings (about this film) aren't so easily understood, even to me.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
A mature, striking exploration of the way that kids feel.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
There's an incessant disconnect between what we hear and what we see; the true soulfulness of Sendak's parable never emerges.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out New York
From the moment we meet Max, however, all of that flies out the window as we soar out of our own expectations and into the fantastic world Jonze presents.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
Where the Wild Things Are might just be Spike Jonze's greatest Jackass prank ever.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
What sinks the movie is the soporific banality of the dialogue, particularly that the conversation is not projected to the audience but directed only to the small group of participants on the screen.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
To their credit, the creative team has retained the handmade look and unruly spirit of Maurice Sendak's bedtime fable; to their discredit, they haven't added enough narrative or emotional dimension to make it an effective movie.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Adaptation of Maurice Sendak's famous children's book expands on his plot while diminishing his effects.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
Requires its audience to take a giant leap, use their minds and, occasionally, go to some uncomfortable places ... an uncommonly bold and brilliant piece of filmmaking.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
A challenging journey into the mind of a boy who no longer feels loved ... This unbelievable achievement is daring, it's funny, it's unusual, it's brilliant.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
The first half hour of Spike Jonze's stunningly emotional adaptation of the Maurice Sendak classic is as fine a cinematic portrayal of childhood as you are likely to see. Too bad there's another hour to the movie.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Its utter simplicity masks layers of complexity. Some will see it as a movie about nothing, when in fact it is a movie about everything.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is brilliant... it is an absolute classic.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
An endearing, engaging, escapist story for all ages, earning a place of honor among family-friendly films.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Where The Wild Things Are is one for the ages, a major accomplishment in a beautiful minor key, and as I revisit it in months and years to come, it will yield fresh wonders each time.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
These monsters that are made of costumes with CGI faces and voiced by these wonderful actors, they're just as real and as complicated as the real people.
A.O. Scott - At the Movies
While not an "instant classic," "Where the Wild Things Are" does what it sets out to achieve as a literal but also embellished translation of a literary classic.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
A masterpiece about the sorrows of growing up, about the pain of being a bright, creative, lonely, troubled child, about the search for love, acceptance, stability and comfort.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
The novelty of looking at the creatures never wears off, and Jonze uses an inquisitive handheld style that works.
Brent Simon - Screen International
All of the beautifully executed moments of love or anger or joy never come together as any kind of whole.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
It looks like a punk home movie, and it's exactly what we need-a reminder that Max isn't just a spooky kid who goes berserker in a crane stance; he's a sweaty, snotty, panting, aggravating animal whose legs (and emotions) pump faster than any adult's
Amy Nicholson - Boxoffice Magazine
Max's dilemma and emotions are distilled to their essence, so the way his real-life suffering informs his dreamscapes becomes unmistakable.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
With this vividly imagined enchanting fable, a movie about childhood made for adults, visionary director Spike Jonze adds another eccentric, if dramatically flawed, panel to his oeuvre.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
The emotions at the core of each scene are sincere, and invariably true to the source.
Rumsey Taylor - Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Jonze has, in a sense, deepened the work that came before it.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Finnish visual artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila's experimental narrative truly pushes forward the possibilities of split-screen cinema.
Aaron Hillis - Time Out New York