Early Critical Buzz: Where the Wild Things Are

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In five days it will finally be upon us; what everyone in Williamsburg, Silver Lake, and every hipster-laden urban neighborhood in between will hail as the second-coming of movie making. Do we even need mention it by name? You cried during the trailer, ordered your copy of the book on Amazon for a future child who you plan on naming Max, and spent a half a month’s rent on a Halloween costume you really can’t afford. You’re ready, and now, the early reviews are in. But be warned: It’s a mixed bag.

David Denby in the New Yorker “The opening sequences of Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are are sensationally good….after a while, the creatures all sound like peevish adults elbowing one another out of the way at the smoked-fish counter at Zabar’s.” B-

Todd McCarthy in Variety “Fleet of foot, emotionally attuned to its subject and instinctively faithful to its celebrated source, Where the Wild Things Are earns a lot of points for its hand-crafted look and unhomogenized, dare-one-say organic rendering of unrestrained youthful imagination….Spike Jonze’s sharp instincts and vibrant visual style can’t quite compensate for the lack of narrative eventfulness that increasingly bogs down this bright-minded picture.” C+

David Edelstein in New York Magazine “The mix of an unruly landscape, a live boy, and kiddie-show fakery shouldn’t jell — or should jell only on the level of a Muppet movie. But it works like a dream. Instead of being bombarded by computer illusions, we’re allowed to suspend our disbelief, to bring our own imaginations into play. For all the artfulness, the feel of the film is rough-hewn, almost primitive. It’s a fabulous tree house of a movie.” A-

Kirk Honeycutt in The Hollywood Reporter “The film does surmount one of its two difficult challenges: Through puppetry and computer animation, the filmmaking teams have successfully put a world of childhood imagination on the screen. Where the film falters is Jonze and novelist Dave Eggers’ adaptation, which fails to invest this world with strong emotions.” C

Only question now is, will you be in theaters Friday? Chances are we will.