There is, of course, a lot of discussion right now about the upcoming film Where the Wild Things Are by Spike Jonze. About a year ago, when the buzz began, it was a hesitant “I don’t know, I really like Spike Jonze, but really? Why would you want to do that?” As it got closer, and images were being leaked, and David Eggers was announced for the screen play, there was a sort of excitement that started to build. The characters really seemed to be coming to life, and they looked fantastic. I have to admit that I was terrified to watch the trailer when it was released. I wanted to watch it alone in a dark room as if it were a secret, where no one could see my disappointment if it was awful, but I ended up watching it with a dear friend. And I cried. Giant, quiet tears, overwhelmed. I don’t want to be one of those fans. Those people who are so attached to the idea of something that isn’t theirs that it starts to feel like it absolutely has to be an epic life altering moment. But I kind of am. And more and more I’m realizing that nearly everyone around me is too. Everyone cries during that trailer. The combination of the beautiful cinematography with Arcade Fire’s Wake Up coming in forceful and lyrical, it’s incredibly touching, moving. So then, I find myself wondering two things. What does Maurice Sendak think? Can the film live up the trailer?
It turns out that in my quest to answer the former, I’ve been given incredible hope. In an interview from the New Yorker David Eggers talks about writing the screen play and his novelization. You get a sense that this project is a real collaboration between himself, Jonze, and Sendak, but that they each maintain their vision and individuality. The children’s book is what it is, and to try to recreate it exactly would only do it a disservice. The novelization will not be an exact telling of the movie, just as the movie will not be an exact telling of the children’s book; and for that I am grateful. It’s like listening to a cover a song that sounds exactly the same, only slightly different. It’s hard to appreciate it, because it really just makes you want to listen to the original. But, to be able to take the idea of the story, and make something that captures the same fear, and charm or childhood, is something else entirely, something worthwhile. That their visions line up incredibly well is a blessing, but they are individuals, independent, each growing in new directions that complement one another. This featurette, which I saw a couple days ago in the theatre, really captures this sense of collaboration and mutual respect. It gives me high hopes, and I find myself waiting with pure childlike excitement and anticipation.
Now Available at Logos
Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
Available in October from Logos
Where the Wild Things Are
by David Eggers
Read an excerpt from David Eggers novel Where the wild things are.