Where are the Wild Things now? 11 points higher on metacritic than they were yesterday. Anyone scorning a score of 71 should take note that there are 4 ratings of 100 in the mix. That’s as many perfect scores as Bright Star and only one less than Inglourious Basterds. Weighing in with raves today are Rolling Stone and LA Weekly:
Scott Foundas: Just as the characters of Jonze‚Äôs Being John Malkovich slipped inside the skin of the erudite character actor, Jonze and Eggers here climb into the head of a preteen boy at once frightened by the world around him and eager to master it. So Max‚Äôs solo boat ride to the isle of the wild things is markedly more perilous than Dorothy‚Äôs cyclone, the landscape he finds there more rugged than enchanted. This parallel world (the inspired work of production designer K.K. Barrett and cinematographer Lance Acord) has all the weight and textures of the real one, a reminder that so much of children‚Äôs make-believe begins with the transfiguration of ordinary objects ‚Äî a cardboard box that becomes a fort, a tinfoil suit of armor.
…This may sound like heady stuff for kids, and it is, but no more so than what actually goes through kids‚Äô heads as they feel their way through the world. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs hard being a family,‚Äù says KW late in the film ‚Äî harder still being 9 or 10 and learning that parents are imperfect people, that friendships are fleeting, and that nothing lasts forever. Like Sendak before him, Jonze seizes upon that uncertain moment and transforms it into art.
Peter Travers: Forget every sugary kid-stuff clich√© Hollywood shoves at you. The defiantly untamed Where the Wild Things Are is a raw and exuberant mind-meld between Maurice Sendak, 81, the Caldecott Medal winner who wrote and illustrated the classic 1963 book, and Spike Jonze, 39, the Oscar-nominated director (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) who honors the explosive feelings of childhood by creating a visual and emotional tour de force. The movie barrels out at you like a nine-year-old boy filled to bursting with joys, fears and furies he can’t articulate.
…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.
Meanwhile, Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir names 10 Kids Movies that Aren’t for Kids — “…movies that either accidentally or deliberately embody a fundamentally adult understanding of the world, an ironic or tragic or frankly frightening picture of life that will either terrify the youngest viewers or sail right over their heads.” His list, after the cut.