Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where Wild Things Return Us Our Childhoods

Last spring I directed a bunch of excitement this way about the first trailer for Where The Wild Things Are, based on the book of the same name by Maurice Sendak. I finally got to see the movie last night, just barely squeaking in before it left the main theatres in the city.

In addition to the excitement, I approached the whole thing with a little bit of fear, too. Wild Things is an iconic book from my childhood, and I had to wonder how it was going to be possible to fill a couple of hours from a 350 word story and still be true to the original. Oh, also while not managing to look distractingly silly with people in Wild Thing suits.

Happily, not only was the movie not a disappointment, it completely outstripped all my hopes. Jonze and Eggers managed to add depth and detail to Max's life without breaking the feel of the original story. They painted a picture of a wildly struggling young boy with all the fear and loneliness of a difficult life at home and the pure happiness and joy of his refuge in simplicity of childhood games and his own imagination.

Max Records was a brilliant pick for Max. He played the role honestly and perfectly, and incidentally, wins my award for best actor's name ever.

And the Wild Thing suits weren't distracting or silly in the least.

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