Where the Wild Things Are appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While not an exemplary transfer, the presentation usually looked good.
In truth, the image really only faltered during darker shots. When we went to low-light settings, the movie tended to look somewhat blocky, and artifacts became more apparent. Those elements also were somewhat dense; it wasn’t particularly easy to discern details in dark scenes.
Otherwise, this was a pretty positive transfer. Most of the movie demonstrated good sharpness. Some softness occurred in wider elements, but the majority of the flick boasted nice definition. No issues with jaggies or edge haloes occurred, but some moiré effects cropped up at times.
Source flaws remained absent. Colors tended toward an amber tint, with a very low-key palette on display. Within the film’s design, though, the colors appeared fine. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight. Though not a great transfer, I thought the flick usually looked good.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Wild Things, it complemented the film well. The soundfield opened up nicely, especially during wilder… uh, things. The shots on the island tended to broaden in a satisfying way, and I liked the extensive use of localized speech.
The surrounds contributed a reasonable amount of unique information as well and added involvement to the piece. If forced to pick the best one, I’d choose the dirt clod fight; it used all the channels in an encompassing manner. Music was also more active than usual, as the score came from all around in a satisfying manner.
Audio quality was always solid. Music showed nice range and clarity, while speech came across as natural and distinctive. Effects possessed good heft and punch; those elements showed fine power while they remained accurate. All in all, this was a satisfying track.
In terms of extras, all we find are four Shorts by Lance Bangs. These include “The Absurd Difficulty of Filming a Dog Running and Barking at the Same Time” (5:32), “The Big Prank” (3:23), “Vampire Attack” (0:51) and “The Kids Take Over the Picture” (4:57). “Dog” provides a fun glimpse from the set, as we see the challenges discussed in its title; it’s an extremely minor aspect of the shoot, and that’s what makes it fascinating.
“Prank” isn’t very entertaining, as I suspect it’s funnier to those who were there. “Attack” is just a weird little piece of goofiness with Max Records and Spike Jonze, while “Kids” provides a more typical “behind the scenes” featurette; it shows all the children who were on the set and how this helped Records. It and “Dog” are easily the best of the bunch.
The disc opens with a few ads. We get promos for IMAX Under the Sea, the Wild Things videogame, Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove, The Blind Side, Scooby-Doo: Abracadabra-Doo and The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest videogame. No trailer for Wild Things shows up here.
I can’t say how fans of the original book will respond to the cinematic version of Where the Wild Things Are, but I think it works – mostly. The film keeps us reasonably entertained and involved, but it lacks a certain magic that would make it great. The DVD offers good picture and strong audio but skimps on supplements. The movie is good enough for at least a rental, and big Sendak fans should consider a purchase.