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.