Does this story sound familiar? A child escapes his stultifying home life and travels to a magical kingdom ruled by wizards, talking animals and trees. Although the kid is stoked by his special status in wonderland, he finally comes to realize that there's no place like home. Director Spike Jonze's reworking of Maurice Sendak's book also echoes L. Frank Baum, even if the pint-sized protagonist has no ruby slippers. Also missing are enchanting songs, a great villain comparable to the Wicked Witch of the West and a full-blooded story. The tiny volume by Sendak, which consisted of just a few hundred words, simply doesn't have the narrative bounty that a memorable movie needs, no matter how many visual tricks a director has up his sleeve.
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