Where The Wild Things Are


Oh, boy.  It looks like Spike Jonze is giving Where The Wild Things Are the same psychoanalytical grilling the Grinch got in his movie.  Goodness knows I’m happy for Maurice Sendak—and I’d be the happiest boy in the world if the cinema gods smiled upon a book of mine. But I’m apprehensive when kids’ books get made into movies.

A big part of what makes this book a masterpiece is the ruthless editing and paring-down Sendak did in order to give the reader just enough information to set his own imagination running.  George Bernard Shaw said successful theater requires that the audience do fifty per cent of the work.  I believe that rule goes for children’s books, too.

So, to fill up an hour-and-a-half the movie’s creative team will be running pins into Max to see what makes him tick—so expect exposition galore—as well as giving the wild things all kinds of stage business and smart-alecky one-liners.  I suspect there will be Important Messages about Family and Relationships and Understanding People Who Are Different and Bullying and Staying Away From Fatty Foods.

Yes, I’ll go see it.  I’ll be the cranky old guy harrumphing in the back row.

0 replies
  1. Mme.G
    Mme.G says:

    I’ll wait to hear your take on it, then – I hadn’t planned on seeing it because it looks like it’s just complicating something that is so un-complicated.

  2. Jerry Russell
    Jerry Russell says:

    My wife and I read Where the Wild Things Are to our son countless times when he was little, as much for him as for our own enjoyment. This is my wife’s favorite children’s book of all time (I still have W. T. Pooh at the top of my list – my mom used to read those to me all the time.).
    I made a Max halloween costume for my son when he was about 3. Man was that cute! We’re hoping the movie does the book justice, but I fear you are probably right about how it will be handled, John. If we’re fortunate, we’ll be pleasantly surprised. I didn’t like the Jim Carrey Grinch one bit, although I really like Carrey.

  3. Leda Miller
    Leda Miller says:

    Gheez, I WAS excited about seeing this movie, but now you have made such a good point…
    A small group of us illustrators are going to see “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” Have you seen that one yet? I’d love to hear your opinion on it.


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