Never having read the childrens book, it must be better than this.
Max (Max Records) has an overactive imagination and some problems at home with his mom (Catherine Keener) finding little time for him. Dressed in pajamas that make him look like a forest animal, an incident trying to get his mom to pay attention to him goes badly, prompting the boy to run away to a far off land full of giant critter things. The over-sized creature appear to play games all day where they make up the rules as they go, then stand around to moan and whine about everything the rest of time. Seriously?!
Is this supposed to be a metaphor for childhood? Okay, there are these cool-looking monster critters that look like the drawings from the book, and there’s the boy who convinces them he is their king and should do what he says. Other than the obvious, the rest of time seems spent on petty flip-flop arguments that sound like nursery infighting or politicians being pressed to give an actual answer to an honest question.
The voice cast for the creatures is considerable, including James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Michael Berry Jr., and Chris Cooper. The world they seem to inhabit is like the playground from a child’s mind. But everything else seems to fall short, as if audiences are already supposed to get who these characters are and what they’re doing. Someone worked very hard to make this, but the end result is like the most boring episode ever of Sid and Marty Krofft’s “H.R. Pufnstuf.”
Was this for kids? For adults? Does it make sense after a drinking a considerable amount of alcohol or overdosing on prescription drugs? After watching shows like “Captain Kangaroo,” “Sesame Street,” and anything by Sid and Marty Krofft, Where the Wild Things Are feels like punishment for having ever watched these shows and enjoyed them. Again, the book has to be better than this. Actually, it might be therapeutic to round up the cast of “Peewee’s Playhouse” and go beat the pulp out those so-called “wild things.”
(a zero skull recommendation out of four)