Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA/Germany, 2009. Warner Bros., Legendary Entertainment, Village Roadshow Pictures, , Wild Things Productions. Screenplay by Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, based on the book by Maurice Sendak. Cinematography by Lance Acord. Produced by John B. Carls, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks,Vincent Landay, Maurice Sendak. Music by Carter Burwell, Karen O. Production Design by K.K. Barrett. Costume Design by Casey Storm. Film Editing by James Haygood, Eric Zumbrunnen. Golden Globe Awards 2009. National Board of Review Awards 2009. Washington Film Critics Awards 2009.
A young boy gets tired of being ignored by his overworked single mother (Catherine Keener) and his mean older sister. After deciding he’s had enough (he’s actually a bit bratty and, quite frankly, I’d be frustrated if I was his mother too), he runs into the woods where his make-believe world of giant muppet-like characters come to life in this adaptation of the popular children’s book by Maurice Sendak. These creatures would normally eat someone as little as Max, but he relies on his impressive wolf costume and declares himself their king, announcing that he has the power to solve their problems. First, however, he has to frolic with them in endless musical sequences that go nowhere. Spike Jonze’s first movie in ages is a disappointing bore, weighed down by an aimless plot, smug nostalgia and a thoroughly unsympathetic lead character. The visual effects, photography and music are terrific, but they’re ineffective against the weight of uninspired storytelling and leaden direction.