As you might glean from my last post, I saw Harry Potter recently. My thoughts on that aside, I’ve got to say that one of the things that stayed with me after I left the theater had nothing to do with brooms, horcruxes, or even Ginny Weasley!
One of the previews we saw right before the film was for Where the Wild Things Are:
I instantly knew what I was seeing as soon as I saw the shadows of the Wild Thing’s horns, and got really excited. As a kid I remember loving this book; when I heard they were going to do this film a while back, I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out, but was certainly curious to see. My excitement eviscerated any concerns I had upon hearing the Arcade Fire song, “Wake Up” (more acoustic than the album cut, FYI) over the studio logos! I got so excited, I actually had trouble containing myself in the theater.
As I let it wash over me, I suddenly got very sad. I don’t even particularly like that Arcade Fire song all that much (Neighborhoods 1, 2, 3, Crown of Love, and Rebellion (Lies) would all easily outrank it), but there was something in the pairing of those two things that struck me in a strange way. Something about taking a story from a part of my childhood so far gone, so long forgotten, drudging it up and juxtaposing it with an incredibly recent aspect of the same life [I only heard Funeral for the first time last August] that caught me funny.
Come to find after viewing the trailer a few more times and reading about the film some that Spike Jonze is directing the movie. I knew I knew that name, but couldn’t remember from where. More clicking; Ah! He directed Adaptation! One of my favorite movies of all time, which (due to its emotional content) got me through a handful of rough points in my life! How weird, that the same guy is back again, messing with my head this time with only a trailer…
Enough about my baggage though: The Film! It looks awesome. The fantastic people from Jim Henson’s Workshop are doing the suits for the Wild Things, and the faces are done with computers. For one, I’m just plain stoked about this. After the disappointment endured suffering through countless Hollywood films that put all their eggs in the CG basket, I’m really excited that someone’s hybridizing it for the forces of good [I always bitch that the new Star Wars films look fake while the old ones look real, mainly because the new ones DO look fake, and the old ones DO look real, on account of the new being mostly CG, and the old all making use of models!]. But the result of using both in this movie looks fantastic.
Past that, the music will also be a hybridized effort between Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the Arcade Fire! Ahhh. Excitement abounds; I might even pay for the soundtrack if it’s good. I read somewhere that the camera work was done by hand, for the majority of the scenes involving the Wild Things, to give it an other-worldly sense, which seems to work well for such a film.
What I’m most excited about is to see how they fill this. In the trailer, I see shit blowing up everywhere Where the Wild Things live, and none of that is in the book. I actually found the book sitting out at a store I was at down in Harvard Square, and I paged through it real quick. Most of it is actually about Max being a punk, and getting sent to his room without dinner for being a pain to his mom. Then he dreams/imagines a world where crazy Wild Things live. They make him king, because Max seems wilder than they do!
Then proceeds about 6-7 text-less pages of them just like, parading around Wild Thing-land. Then Max gets lonely for his mom, and goes home. Nothing explodes in the book. What gives, Spike Jonze? I don’t mean to be like “you changed it! boo!” at all. I understand that adapting a pretty-short-mostly-illustration-children’s-book into a 2 hour film isn’t easy. You gotta add stuff, in this case: conflict? I feel like the parts of the book with words comprise maybe… 40 minutes of film, if you stretch it, embellish it a little. That comes up at least an hour short, meaning that a lot of stuff, the body of the work, I’d expect, must happen Where the Wild Things Are. I’m pretty geared up to see how that pans out. The explosions, the maritime scenes, and the varying landscapes all look really
interesting EXCITING, and I’ve got a good feeling that they’ll stay true to the original message and tone of the work.
Let’s just say I’m going to be seeing this the first day it’s out.
I just hope I’m not the only person older than 12 that came not on account of a child.
There’s one in all us.