Another title could have easily been “Where the Emo Things Are”. We went and saw this today with our buddy Adam from Nashville, and it seems like with every hour that has passed since, my disapproval of this movie has multiplied.
As a little background info, this has always been one of my favorite stories of all time. I spent many a childhood night having this story read to me by my Mom, and many hours poring over every details of Sendack’s amazing illustrations. I’ve even considered getting a WtWTA tattoo someday.
I was extremely excited about the movie, especially after having watched an interview with Maurice Sendack saying the movie had his 100% approval. The trailers i saw looked like a ton of fun with lots of crazy adventures and wild rumpuses abound. Everything about it seemed ready to rock…
But the movie was just WAY too damn depressing. For every moment of fun and adventure, there are about 5 of some monster whining and being all emotional. I found myself constantly wanting Max to say to one of the monsters “just shut up and quit being such a bitch about everything”. I think the monsters featured in the film would make a great mascot for some sort of anti-depressant. Like maybe they start of being all depressive and low, then Max throws them a big ol handful or Prozacs and the wild rumpus begins.
And yes, i am aware that a lot of additions had to be made to turn such a short story into a full length movie. I’m not at all upset about that. I’m just upset that all those amazing monsters that i spent so much time with as a kid are reduced to sniveling, dysfunctional, needy, emotional wrecks. Those beasts didn’t need a king, they needed a therapist.
I’d like to add (on a positive note) that everything else about the movie is amazing! The visuals are incredible. Jones used as little CGI as possible, so the movie has a very Jim Henson-y quality to it. The soundtrack is very well suited for the movie, in that it is 10% fun, wild music and 90% depressing emotional stuff. It always matches the mood of the scene very well and contributes to whatever you’re seeing, as any effective soundtrack does. The casting and such is also great.
The whole thing is really, really well-done, it just isn’t right for this particular story. I’m also dreading the oncoming wave of youngsters identifying with this movie and sporting WtWTA gear that they bought at Hot Topic while acting out their monster-sized angst. I’m pretty glad i didn’t get that tattoo.
***Kate would like to note that she really loved the movie; thought it was quite fantastic. Although she read the book as a child, it was not as frequent nor with as much love and fascination as Ben.***