Friday, March 27, 2009
Where The Wild Things Are
I'm a big Maurice Sendak fan (who isn't), and I'm also a big Spike Jonze fan (there are also many of those), so I've been following the development of this film adaptation pretty closely.
As closely as you can follow any production that has been mired down by so many rumours, half-truths, and curious misleads. Things like "the producers are making Jonze re-shoot the entire film because they don't like the effects," to "the producers are making Jonze re-shoot the entire film because they don't like the lead actor's performance," to "the producers have fired Jonze". I am sure there are many, many others...
What's given me hope throughout is this: the production stills I've seen look very promising, Sendak has given it his blessing, Jonze has a great way with visual effects, a way that insists on effects feeling physical (even if they're digital), Dave Eggers (whose fiction I greatly admire) was co-writing the screenplay, and Jim Henson Company was involved in a big way.
Now the trailer is out, it LOOKS like its a clear path to a release later this year, and all is as well as it can be. I think the trailer looks exciting, and hints at an emotional depth that I hope the film has.
I've long admired Sendak primarily for his insistence that kids can TAKE IT. And by "it" I mean the darker realms of human existence. Kids are humans, not "pre-humans," to be treated like idiots.
Consider Sendak's "Higglety Pigglety Pop!" to see how he addresses death, and the loss we feel when a loved one leaves us. Not material for kids? Then why is Sendak so popular?
Anyway, I hope this film is dark, scary, ferocious, angry, tender, loving, comforting, and moving. All those things can co-exist- in life, and in cinema.