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When Movies Attack: Beasts of the Southern Wild Vs. Where the Wild Things Are

Posted February 19, 2013 by TheVern in Featured

When Movies Attack

By The Vern of The Vern’s Video Vortex

SPOILERS******   Be warned I will be discussing both movies and may give away certain plot elements.
If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments, and I will write an article based on that first choice in two weeks.

Hello Readers,

Have you ever watched a movie and thought to yourself.  ”Wow. This story seems very familiar.  Have I seen this before?”

When one movie becomes a huge hit other studios try to cash in on all the excitement by releasing titles that are very similar.  It becomes more difficult with certain types of genres especially horror and fantasy. There are only so much original stories you can do before it all starts repeating itself.

When Movies Attack  doesn’t really want to tell you which movie is better.  Just give you a bit more insight into titles you may or may not have heard of before.  This month I’m comparing two movies that feature children in adventures that help each other grow as people.  That’s right, I now bring you.



The Challengers


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Hushpuppy (Academy Award nominee Quvenzhane Wallis) is a girl living in a world that to most of us would be viewed as being desolate and bleak.  Yet through the eyes of this child her world is very beautiful. Everyone in this community is helpful and they have this sense of togetherness that I don’t see in other neighborhoods.    Other movies would have featured these characters and this world as something that needs to be rescued.  It would be about a group or one man  trying to save and bring them into a modern civilization.  In Beasts of the Southern Wild when the Government does show up to help get people out, I wanted to scream at them.   What gives other people the right to tell someone else how to live.   Someone wrote that the bathtub in which Hushpuppy and other lives reminds them of watching a live-action Hayao Miyazaki movie. That description matches the movie perfectly.


Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak’s best-loved children’s fable gets adapted to the big screen by director Spike Jonze.  After a fight with his mother young Max runs off  and sails onto an island inhabited by giant, but loveable monsters.  This to me was one of the best movies about childhood ever put on-screen.  It gets high praise from me because it treats children with respect. It doesn’t show them to be all hip with funny one liners or any other tired cliche.  Let’s face it, not all kids are going to be bright happy beings 24/7.  Some of them surprisingly become sad once in a while.  The character of Max is obviously going through some rough times with his parents becoming divorced and these monsters help represent a part of his personality.  Many have considered this one to be too bleak for a children’s tale but just because the main story doesn’t involve singing, dancing animals all the time.  Doesn’t mean it’s entirely dark.  Where the Wild Things Are shows us how kids actually are versus how we perceive them to be.


  • In both of the films, the main character is at least nine or ten.
  • Both movies are mainly set in somewhat magical landscape.
  • They each feature giant creatures.
  • The cinematography for both feature a lot of hand-held camera movements.
  • Both main characters have to deal with being alone and not have others help them out.
  • The creatures in Where the Wild Things Are represent Max’s different emotional states and are shown throughout the movie.  The ones in Beasts of the Southern Wild are only shown a few times and Hushpuppy has only one interaction with them.
  • In Beasts of the Southern Wild the main character is a young girl.  In Where the Wild Things Are the main character is a boy.
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild has been nominated for four Oscars including best picture, but no Golden Globes.  Where the Wild Things Are has been nominated for a Golden Globe for best original score.
  • Where the Wild Things Are is rated PG.  Beasts of the Southern Wild is rated PG-13 and is definitely more oriented towards adults.
  • Max has a mother in Where the Wild Things Are but does not join him on his quest.  Hushpuppy’s father lives with her in Beasts of the Southern Wild but does not see the creatures
  • The Dad in Beasts of the Southern Wild drinks a lot and may be an alcoholic.  The Mom in Where the Wild Things Are does not.


Closing thoughts.

I love watching movies where the kid ends up becoming wiser then they were before.  Max and Hushpuppy each go through their own personal journey and come out the other side better than they were before.  They also each have a better understanding of their parents, and can take with them the good things they teach, and forget the bad things .  Both Beasts of the Southern Wild and Where the Wild Things Are show kids who are starting that slow journey into adulthood.  There are many more roads ahead for each of these characters and this is the first step.

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