Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Preliminary Notes on Where the Wild Things Are

I'm calling this "preliminary" not because no one's been talking about this film--it seems like one of the most talked-about films for the past two years already--but because I expect to have much more to say about it as it approaches (buzz is high, as is controversy over the old studio vs. director dilemma, so expectations are decidedly mixed). All I'd like to do right now is post some links to yesterday's USA Today, a sort of profile of director Spike Jonze. Also notice the mini-flash slide show and what amounts to a sidebar article about the character of Max, played by one Max Records of Portland. A Max playing Max is a little serendipitous, and I hope this film has other things going for it as well. We'll see, hopefully by October!


Randy Astle said...

I wrote this post yesterday but hadn't realized that the first trailer has now been released. It's up on the Apple trailer website,

Also, here's a brief MTV blog evaluating it and what it portends for the film itself:

Children's Books for Grown-ups said...

I felt encouraged by the trailer Randy. What did you think? It is such an amazing book that I really hope that they have done a good job. Tasha

Randy Astle said...

Yeah, I think it looks really good, which is a relief of course but then just continues to set expectations high (I guess I don't want to set myself up to be disappointed). I really agree with what you wrote the other day about the physicality of the wild things in their suits. You watch Jar-Jar Binks and King Kong and Golem, et al, and it just brings Walter Benjamin forcefully to mind, that there's a presence/aura missing when there's no real-life referent in front of the cameras. Here the relationship between Max and the wild things is so critical (and the young audience so discerning) that I'm elated Jonze didn't try to cheat it with CGI. Chroma key and CGI have their place, for sure (King Kong was really good, after all--I watched the T-rex fight several times), but I just don't think it's here, in a character-driven children's film. Kudos to the Jim Henson folks as well--it's great, as you mentioned, to see the Labyrinth/Dark Crystal magic still alive. (The wild things actually remind me a LOT of Sweetums and the other full-bodied Muppets.)

I don't know if this is how you found my blog, by the way, but I just linked to yours yesterday; you've got some amazing material over there! Plus food! That's what I need. I see you're in London? I lived two years at Finsbury Park and our daughter was born at the Whittington Hospital in Archway. Portentous because she loves cats.