Spike Jonze is often noted for his creative works like “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation” where he took audiences through the formulaic fish out of water story and tailspins it into a surreal landscape. So it’s no surprise to most of his fans that the once music video director has chosen an imaginative story like “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak for his latest project.

While most children raised by the book recall fondly the adventures of Max through the jungles of the “wild things” others remember it for its heated controversy over the disposition placed upon parents as incompetent to the “animal” behavior of the Max character. But despite all the ruckus the book managed to survive the scandal and earn the love of children everywhere who dared to go “Where the Wild Things Are.”

This week, latest trailer for the film go public, and once again it illustrates only a sample of what will certainly prove to gain critical acclaim. According to Maurice Sendak, himself, in the behind-the-scenes footage, the film will be as controversial as the books. From the material provided it is clear there will be a contrast between the world of him imaginings and the real world full of complex issues; issues including the relationships Max’s mother has with other men to the way Max copes with the confusion by biting people.

Based upon how Jonze has depicted his somewhat unconventional protagonists in his films like “Being John Malkovich” where the main character Craig Schwartz deals with his dismal life. Jonze is able to extrapolate the whole internal psychosis by projecting it with the legendary actor John Malkovich. The film is simply more than a story about a man’s escape, it’s more of a reflection on the way individuals cope with certain stages of their lives such as married life or work.

The importance in looking at Jonze’s work as any sort of indicator for “Where the Wild Things Are” will allow audiences to gain a sense of where the story will dictate itself. Certainly, one of the main important factors of Maurice Sendak’s work is the significance of deep emotions from early childhood such as depression or anger issues. Before the book, the image of childhood was very two dimensional as often the image of maturity was left to characters such as Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. Children were never in the right, and the adults were always the authorities.

What Jonze seems to convey in the limited amount of footage is that same sort of depth riddled throughout “Where the Wild Things Are.” It is likely we will see the strains of Max’s relationship with his mother in a more discerning light. It is likely we will watch the world of Max’s imagination shatter or merge with his bitter reality. And whether one has read the book or not, this film will prove to be one of those surprising and insightful films that will get people talking this fall.

Although one shouldn’t count any proverbial chickens before they hatch, Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are” is worth the bet! And lastly, a deserving nod should be given to Max Records, whose shared name with the main character of Max, will steal audiences attention as he gives a memorable performance.

About The Author

Conception Allen is Blast's West Coast Bureau Chief. Known to most as Connie, she covers entertainment and has degrees in media arts and culture studies. She is also on the Blast Art Team, designing kick-ass graphics.

4 Responses

  1. Gustav

    “Previous to the book, the image of childhood was very two dimensional as often the image of maturity was left to characters such as Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.”

    That sentence is so poorly structured that I have no idea what it means. If it is a slur against Twain’s portraiture of young people then it is not just badly written but wrong as well.

  2. Conception Allen

    If the intention of your comment was for clarification, you could have done so without the condescension. I find it amusing that rather than discuss the significance of Sendak’s book becoming a feature film, it is eclipsed by my “poorly structured” sentences.

    So for the record, my statement was not an attack on Mark Twain. The characters of Tom and Huck are both free spirits who in their own way defied authority.

    If you examine the common character types found in children’s literature during the late 1960s, or previous to the release of “Where the Wild Things Are”, it seldom held any quite like Max. Previous to Sendak’s work, good boys didn’t stir up trouble, dress up like an animal, and defy their parents in the manner displayed in the book. Those who do are often “reformed” in some manner, and given the excuse of lacking social graces or being of a different class like, for example, Huckleberry Finn. They most certainly were not the “good” boys from the nice suburban neighborhoods.

    In my opinion, Sendak weaves the theme of rebellion in his book by casting out the authoritative power of the adults, and transferring them to Max through the use of “The Wild Things”. Furthermore, Max’s unapologetic attitude to his behavior engages readers in the joy of forgoing all rules in order to embrace one’s inner fierceness.

    You mentioned in your comment about the “portraiture of young people” in Twain’s work, but failed to elaborate as to your own perspective concerning its relevancy to this article.

    I am truly curious, and in no way am I being sarcastic. Often I find it hard to watch a book I love be made into a film. I don’t generally trust the medium of film to always do the original text justice, so I just kind of roll with it.

    However, I was really impressed by the coverage so far as to the development of the film. Plus, Sendak’s approval is comforting too.

  3. BostonMSG

    i grew up reading this book as a child and am very interested in seeing it on big screen. i think it would be interesting to revisit the book again before watching this… so, with that said, i will be doing that SOON!!

    Thanks for writing and responding. it’s quite interested to read others opinions regarding subject matter.


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