Right from the start it is filled with energy. Although at times it is a melancholy and grim energy. This film is very much like a child - going from crying to laughing in a heartbeat... What struck me about the film is that what lurks beneath is a much darker story. The wild things in this movie are depressed, sad, lonely creatures... one step away from snapping and eating our hero. Although we never really feel that Max is in danger, we are adults and know he's not. If I were a child watching this movie, I would be traumatized. At one point, one of them rips another's arm off in anger and throws it. And they are best friends. There is even a speech by a teacher, but we get the distinct impression he isn't talking to the class - he is talking to us the audience, which is mostly children. A dark, depressing speech about the death of the sun and our universe. Even still the whole thing had a wild air about it... So real and yet so fake. I guess that is what being a kid is all bout.
I went in hearing all about how there isn't much of a plot and that it meanders along until the end. And, although I agree with this general statement found that the 90 minutes or so flew by. And with any movie I truly enjoy, I didn't want it to end...
Technically this is a sight to behold. Spike Jonze has proven once again that he is a master at his craft. He does hip and trendy better than any of the pretentious wanna-bes - because he is constantly evolving and his films are all so different while clearly originating from the same director. Unlike a Wes Anderson, who has become a clone of himself.
Giving what is one of the best performances of the year is Max Records. Jonze had said he didn't want the precious actor type, and went with a real kid with zero acting experience. He is in every scene of this movie and it lives or dies on his shoulders - and he carries it. To say he was amazing would be an understatement. He even has that 1000 yard stare that all troubled kids have. Where you don't know if they're going to break out in laughter or stab you.
All-in-all it was a good film, a vivid world painted by a master craftsman.