Copyright. Square-Eyes 2009. All Rights Reserved


Copyright. Square-Eyes 2009. All Rights Reserved

There are few movies this year more eagerly anticipated than Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's cherished children's book. That 1963 picture book - about a boy named Max who is sent to his room without supper and then embarks on a journey to the far reaches of his imagination - accomplished in a handful of sentences what novelists struggle to achieve in hundreds of pages. It provided a screen onto which readers of every age could project their own realities. It made space for parents and children to acknowledge their deepest anxieties. It created an entire world.

Spike Jonze also creates an entire world with his big screen interpretation; a huge, wonderful, richly imagined universe, as beautiful as it is uncompromising.

This film, due for general release in New Zealand on 3 December, tells the story of Max, a rambunctious and sensitive boy who feels misunderstood at home and escapes to where the Wild Things are. Max lands on an island where he meets mysterious and strange creatures whose emotions are as wild and unpredictable as their actions. The Wild Things desperately long for a leader to guide them, just as Max longs for a kingdom to rule. When Max is crowned King, he promises to create a place where everyone will be happy. But Max soon finds, though, that ruling his kingdom is not so easy and his relationships there prove to be more complicated than he originally thought. And yes, those Things roar their terrible roars and roll their terrible eyes.

Most movies about childhood are full of nostalgia and the celebration of innocence; but every once in a while, one comes along that somehow reaches in and touches something mystifying and deeper about the experience of being a child.

Like the book, this live-action adaptation focuses on the darker edges of childhood - on emotions, and the bewildering world of managing those feelings when you're a child. A film that is as much about being a kid, as it is about a kid called Max, this is a sensitive and acute exploration about what childhood feels like.

Profoundly beautiful, unique and affecting, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is whimsical movie magic at its heartfelt best - examining themes of loss, isolation, insecurity, power and of course, growing up.


"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." 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." Washington Post

"A work of genuine imagination and intelligence that doesn't try to ram the same old feel-good platitudes down our collective throat." Aisle Seat

"The film may have the same emotional hooks and underlying themes of the book, but they're packaged in a larger, more complicated form that challenges conventional expectations of what a kids' film looks and sounds like." Film Desk

"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." Cinematical

JONZE ON SENDAK "He (author Maurice Sendak) said from the beginning that you have to make it dangerous. Make something that respects kids and that doesn't talk down to them. Or if not, it wasn't worth doing. His only rule was not to pander to children, and make something honest. He really pushed us and has always been so supportive of us, and it's been an amazing friendship. He's a producer, but he's so much more than that - he's our mentor and our friend. The film's a testament to kids - you think, oh, they don't see that, or they don't understand this - but they see everything and understand everything."

SENDAK ON JONZE "There will be controversy about this (film adaptation). But the film has an entire emotional, spiritual, visual life, which is as valid as the book. He (Spike Jonze) has done it like me - in a more brilliant, modern, fantastical way. Which takes nothing from my book, but enhances and enriches my book."

Visit the WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE official site here


Rated PG for thematic elements, some adventure action and brief profanity, Square Eyes recommends WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE for ages 9 to adult. The undertow of melancholy in the film may prove too difficult to process for the smallest of audience members, and the Wild Things in the movie have been designed and directed toward an older age group than the books original audience.

As always, Square Eyes age recommendation is intended to guide parents and guardians in selecting the most emotionally and intellectually appropriate films for their children. While these recommendations are based on our Square Eyed knowledge, we recognise that all children respond to films in different ways and leave the final decision to the adults who know them best. We encourage you to select films that you feel to be suitable viewing based on the information provided, and to accompany your child or children to the screenings.




United States 2009
Directed by Spike Jonze
94 minutes, Recommended for ages 9+


Adults $20.00, Children $15.00

Tickets available at EMBASSY THEATRE
located 10 Kent Terrace, Wellington. Cash only.

Copyright. Square-Eyes 2009. All Rights Reserved

Copyright. Square-Eyes 2009. All Rights Reserved

Copyright. Square-Eyes 2009. All Rights Reserved

© 2011 Square Eyes.
All Rights Reserved.