In bringing Maurice Sendak’s 10-sentence classic to the screen, Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers took a lot of liberties. They also knew when to leave well enough alone.
Book: Max has a mom we never see who calls him a ”wild thing.”
Movie: Max has a single mother (Catherine Keener) with a new boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo), and a big sister who has grown distant.
Book: A wolf-suited Max gets sent to his room for sassing his mom.
Movie: A wolf-suited Max embarrasses his mom in front of her date by acting out and yelling, ”Feed me, woman!”
The Wild Things
Book: Nameless yellow-eyed monsters, both hungry and playful.
Movie: A dysfunctional family of complex, scary creatures, led by a manic-depressive named Carol.
Book: Max and the Wild Things march, hang from trees, dance.
Movie: Max and Co. engage in deforestation, have a dirt fight, hurt each other’s feelings. Also: dismemberment!
The Running Time
Book: It takes about two minutes to read.
Movie: Roughly 98 minutes long — and definitely better than reading the book 49 times in a row.