Max Records, Catherine Keener
Max: Let the wild rumpus…START!
Max (Records) tends to lash out with wild behavior when he’s angry or feels ignored. One night when his mother is paying more attention to her boyfriend than him, Max misbehaves, bites her, and runs off into the woods. After hopping on a small boat and sailing for a while, Max finds himself on a strange island populated by large, scary creatures who crown Max as their king.
I think I went into this movie with my expectations too high, and I ended up feeling slightly disappointed by it. Though, when I really consider it, the movie was actually quite good most of the way through. It just seemed to be missing a real resolution of the story lines at the end. I don’t need a what-did-we-learn-today, Sesame Street kind of scene, but something a little more explicitly showing Max learn from his experiences would have been nice. I felt like the set up for a big emotional payoff was there, but then it didn’t deliver very strongly.
Moving on to the things I did like, I really enjoyed the general look and feel of the movie (thanks to director Spike Jonze). That, combined with the music, reminded me a bit of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The acting is good, though the only humans with much screen time are Max and his mom (Keener). They have some nice scenes together at the beginning, and Max Records is excellent throughout. It’s not often that kid actors are just as good in the subtle, quiet scenes as they are in the more energetic, emotional ones.
Let me expand upon the music for a moment. Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, was brought in to provide a child like feel to the soundtrack, and she was successful. By combining her style with children’s voices, I think she added as much emotion to the movie as anything else. The music was perfect in pretty much every scene.
Even though it lacked an overall emotional punch and a real sense of resolution, I’d still say this is a movie worth seeing. My heart may not have swelled and broken throughout, but I still found myself smiling most of the time. Plus, it’ll make you realize that we all want to go a little wild every now and then.
Kids, don’t bite your mom, okay?
10 – 2.1 for lacking a real sense of resolution or emotional impact in the end = 7.9