‘Where the Wild Things Are’: Faithful or Flop?Where the Wild Things Are is a popular children’s book written by American writer Maurice Sendak, and one of my favorite books as a child. I know this is Guy Movie Review, but we were kids once and this was important to us then. The story follows a young boy named Max, who is sent to his room without supper by his mother for causing trouble in his adorable Wolf costume. Max then imagines he is sailing to the land of the Wild Things, strange and fearsome looking beasts who later crown him king. He becomes merry and dances with them, until he begins to long for home and returns to find his hot supper waiting for him. It was a classic children’s tale if ever there was one.
Leaping out of my childhood, we return to 2009 where Hollywood is churning out remakes like there is no tomorrow. What number Shrek are we on again? There are no more original ideas, and every last piece of quality source material (including books, video games, and comics) are being made into movies. How will the adaptation stack up?
Will Wild Things Be Tamed?
I’m not one of those “OMG, they ruined my childhood types,” but I will say that this movie is important for a similar reason. I understand that you cannot take a 20 page children’s book with no dialogue and convert it into a 2-hour Oscar winner, but the elements that are important to the book must remain the same. The book was so simple in its plot and themes that it became complex. Any and every type of criticism could be applied to it, and psychologists would have a field day with the material now. But in truth, the story is about one thing and one thing only: imagination.
Imaginary FriendsWhere the Wild Things Are is a story of a boy and the friends he creates (which was considered normal until recently). Max’s imagination is as wild as the beast themselves, and his creativity is unwavering and accepted. It is essential that the movie captures that aspect, and inspire kids to continue to be kids. My biggest fear is that children will become fans of the movie and track down a copy of the book, only to be met with disappointment as there is no dialogue, no special effects and no fun. In short, a movie adapted from a book about imagination will actually kill it.
So far though, I have not really had a cause for concern as Spike Jonze has indicated in his interviews that he has every intention of staying true to the beloved book. You can read more from his exclusive interview with Collider here. The creatures and special effects look fantastic, as does Max. We can only hope that Hollywood does not ruin a beautiful piece of art for the sake of ticket sales.
How faithful do you think Hollywood will be to the book, given their track record?
Tags: Book Adaptations