Monday, November 2, 2009
Where the Wild Things Were
Yes, we FINALLY got to see a canon of my pre-school existence. And, of course, I was let down.
Big surprise, right? But in all honesty, I tried sososo to not have any lofty expectations going into the theatre. Readying a TEN SENTENCE book for the screen is no small feat. Spike Jones even shrugged off the task a few times before buckling down with Maurice Sendak (the author) to make the movie. I would have passed on this project, too. Why? Well, here's the original text:
"The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another. His mother called him "WILD THING!" and Max said "I'LL EAT YOU UP!" so he was sent to bed without eating anything. That very night in Max's room a forest grew and grew- and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are. And when he came to the place where the wild things are they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws- till Max said "BE STILL!" and tamed them with a magic trick of staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things. "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!" "Now stop!" Max said and sent the wild things off to bed without their supper. And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all. Then all around from far away across the world he smelled good things to eat so he gave up being king of where the wild things are. But the wild things cried, "Oh please don't go- we'll eat you up- we love you so!" And Max said, "No!" The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him- and it was still hot."
It's kinda ok, but without the amazing illustrations it's just another kid's story without the dumb "hidden morals" (I'm looking at YOU Hansel and Gretl, thanks for scaring the crap out of me!). You also are taking holy words to kids everywhere that had imagined and dreamed up poly-plots, sequels, prequels, and subtext to this amazing and vague little story and make it into a movie for the masses. Touching this with a film is a very, very, very difficult thing to take on.
I really felt like I was watching two movies simultaneously. The A-MAZ-ING wild things truly had me in goosebumps. Seeing these beasts that I had loved so dearly and shared so many bedtime stories with move, and talk, and roooooar was thrilling! And maybe that's the problem. I had such a visceral and emotional response just to the damn previews for this movie, a feature length endeavor just couldn't hold up. And, as expected, the dark plot was also much to rickety to support these wild things in their wild rumpus.
But, go see this movie. Seeing the wild things in "real life" makes it worth it. Let me know what you think!