Viewed – 05 June 2010 Blu-ray
Now going into this I had no previous knowledge of its source material other than it being based on a children’s book, and so as you can imagine, this very unusual story of a young, hyperactive boy with no friends and whose parents are separated, was at first something I found hard to get into. You see after running away from home, the boy somehow finds himself in a forest inhabited by wierd talking monsters, huge goat, bird etc inspired creatures who at first see him as their next meal – then grow fond of him as he declares himself their king and sets about helping them rebuild their village. Now these creatures act like human beings, with complex relationships and ‘issues’, all of which are prown to falling apart at any moment.
Now for me, I saw these creatures as a symbolic representation of the boy’s thoughts and how he sees his family and how he would like his life to be. The big monsters sometimes seeming like the big boys of the neighbourhood he wishes he could play with without getting hurt, that main monster Carol is perhaps his estranged father, and Carol’s love interest K.W. his mother, and the brittle relationship between the two mirroring the troubled marriage of the boy’s parents.
The creature design and some of the scenery is breath-taking and brings to life what would otherwise be an overly serious movie, and with Carol voiced by the brilliant James Gandolfini (Tony from TVs The Sopranos), this surprising movie actually made me feel quite emotional and moved by the end. Perhaps it takes a bit too long to reveal its hidden meanings, all of which are open to interpretation, and the soundtrack which should be captivating and memorable felt somewhat overblown and intrusive, but as a unique take on the world of a child and all the complexities that come with it, this still has plenty to offer – if you give it a chance.
Verdict: 3 /5