Monday, February 16, 2009

We Can't Wait #2 Where The Wild Things Are

Directed by Spike Jonze
Starring Newcomer Max Records as Max, Catherine Keener as Max's mom, and the voice talents of folks such as Forest Whitaker and Catherine O'Hara for the big furry whatchamacallits populating Max's imagination
Synopsis If you've never read Maurice Sendak's book, shame on you
Brought to You By A Sendak-chosen Jonze and the fine folks at The Jim Henson Company
Expected Release Date October 16th, 2009

JA: I was looking forward to this because a new Spike Jonze movie is always something to anticipate and this was one of my favorite books as a kid. But then I found out a bunch of wussy kids bawled at a screening, and suddenly I was REALLY looking forward to this. Like Coraline there's really nothing that toots my horn like entertainment aimed at children that's filled with nightmare-fodder. Some of my happiest memories are of my earliest encounters with monsters, and I love it when artists have the guts to recognize that kids do not always need the kiddie gloves. Sometimes a good healthy scare is just what the doctor ordered.

Nathaniel: And can we break right there to say how amazing is Coraline? I hope we're all in agreement. It's so beautiful / creepy / funny / weird and subtly trusting of its young (and old) audience. And if I can ever get out from under Oscar season I shall have to speak of it!

I have naturally even higher expectations for Where the Wild Things Are since the book is so embedded in my brain and since Jonze is a favorite filmmaker. Literary fantasies need visionaries like him or Henry Selick if they're to be adapted at all. If this is as strong as Coraline I'll be pleased but if it's better we'll have a new classic on our hands. A classic with fur, horns and tails. If it's that good perhaps it can wipe away those unpleasant memories of all the children's fantasies we've been seeing for years that think CGI and imagination are interchangeable nouns.

Whitney: I'm so curious to see how they make a 25 (or so) page picture book into a feature length film. Judging by the stills, this will be that perfect throwback to 80s childrens films that all of us 20-somethings have been waiting for, while still being entirely original. I'm excited to see what Jonze can do.

Fox: I love Spike Jonze, I love giant p(m)uppets, and I love that the child actors name in this movie is Max Records. The fact that it's also about childhood imagination and that Jonze has a great track record of visually interpreting the tracks of the mind (the way he did when Catherine Keener chased Cameron Diaz through John Malkovich's head) has had me "can't waiting" for what feels like three years now.

Nathaniel: Three years? It is the perfect candidate for "we can't wait". It's felt like decades of waiting. Come to me now new film. Come to me now. I once painted the characters from the book all huge like for a corporate event (long story and pre-Film Experience days). I kept them in my room for well over a year after the event because I loved them so much. Big fuzzy loveable monstrous things.

Did you grow up loving this book? If not, what's your favorite childhood book. I was obsessed with this one called The King With Six Friends but I rarely meet people who know that one.

In case you missed any entries they went like so...
We Can't Wait:
#1 Inglourious Basterds, #2 Where the Wild Things Are, #3 Fantastic Mr. Fox,
#4 Avatar, #5 Bright Star, #6 Shutter Island, #7 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
#8 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, #9 Nailed,
#10 Taking Woodstock,
#11 Watchmen, #12 The Hurt Locker, #13 The Road, #14 The Tree of Life
#15 Away We Go, #16 500 Days of Summer, #17 Drag Me To Hell,
#18 Whatever Works, #19 Broken Embraces, #20 Nine (the musical)
intro (orphans -didn't make group list)



Anonymous said...

My favourite book as a child, hands down.

I will be lining up on opening night to see this flick.

Anonymous said...

My fav book was Matilda by Dahl.
Still one of my favorites.

David Coley said...

One of my favorite books was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which apparently is being made into a movie now.
Also, Mr. Popper's Penguins. Why they haven't made a movie of that one is beyond me.

Lucas Dantas said...

"Some of my happiest memories are of my earliest encounters with monsters, and I love it when artists have the guts to recognize that kids do not always need the kiddie gloves. Sometimes a good healthy scare is just what the doctor ordered."

that's why i love "the alice adventures". i love how lewis carroll's narrative sounds so sadistic most of the times. and all the freudian problems incrusted in it... i simply love it. that's also why i tend to like children books that are dark and sometimes even bitter, like the latter books from the "harry potter series" or the "his dark materials" trilogy.

so i'm up for this - even if i hadn't read the book [yet].

Janice said...

I read nat's comment about "The King with Six Friends" and thought I'd never heard of that, checked out the link and realized that had been one of my favorite books as a kid in the early '70's! I'd completely forgotten about it - the illustrations were lovely, and it had a message about the value of every individual (even those who don't "fit in") wrapped up in the tale of an exiled young king. Thanks for the memory trip.

Regarding Jonze - yes, love him but has it really been six years since Adaptation? And weren't his only two features that and BJM? I wonder, why doesn't that inspire complaints of "he takes too long between features" a la Baz (although that particular train has certainly slowed down quite a bit, if not come to a crashing halt.)

Fox said...


I agree with you that Jonze "takes too long." I mean, yes, he had some road blocks with WTWTA, but why not put something out in between. Maybe he's just not into being a career filmmaker.

Anonymous said...

On books - either "Where the Wild Things Are" or something from the Geisel/Seuss pantheon (probably "Yertle the Turtle") for younger readers; without a doubt "Charlotte's Web" for kids who have gotten past the need for a picture on every page. I love that one beyond reason and include it every year when I buy books for the Christmas bookstore donation program.

Lots of opportunity to expand the story with this. Heck, just adding dialogue to the Max-Beastie exchanges might do it. With the artistic combination in play here, this could really be something special.

Only six comments so far? Too early? Weren't any of the frequenters of TFE ever kids?


carl i think it's timing. i think maybe all anybody wanted was oscar posts. so...

plus holiday weekend.

that's the only reason why you're all so quiet, yes?


love, nathaniel the insatiable devourer of comments

Anonymous said...

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe & The Magician's Nephew.

And in my second childhood: Anne Rice's The Witching Hour.

Third childhood a ways off, I hope.


ha ha i love it.

i need a third childhood right about now. (no joke)

Glenn Dunks said...

YEES! Loved this book and I can't wait for the movie. Even though the reports of studio meddling haven't been encouraging, but what did they expect when they hired Spike Jonze? So, it's sort of a neutral point.

And, yeah, puppets = giddiness.