Wild Things

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A classic children's story finally comes to realization in Spike Jonze new adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. This film has been long in the making rifled with controversy and conflicts. Production started in 2005 and filming ended around early 2008. But when filming ended, rumors were flying around that the film studio wanted to re-shoot the entire movie because it apparently wasn’t a “kid’s movie”. Spike Jonze vision was not to make Where the Wild Things Are into a simple big Hollywood children’s movie but instead to exhibit the adult themes explored in the original story written by Maurice Sendak. But luckily the film studios decided to support Spike Jonze’s original vision for the film and the trailer definitely shows that. Judging by the trailer it seems they definitely are not trying to market the movie towards kids. This is an amazing move on Hollywood’s part, taking a timeless and classic children's story and adapting it for mature audiences. This film is made for all the people who read the book and it has become a cherished memory of their childhood. First time I’ve encountered this book was back in kindergarten when my teacher read it to the class, ever since that moment I was enchanted by the possibility of traveling into some unknown and exotic world but meanwhile realizing that sometimes we travel to the most outlandish of places trying to find oneself and some true companionship only to realize it already exists at home. This seems to be an interesting trend happening in Hollywood, taking favorite childhood classics and adapting them for more mature audiences. The two most recent examples the come to mind is The Dark Knight and Speed Racer. While Dark Knight was immensely popular, Speed Racer was a box office flop, but I ended up loving the film! Speed Racer is good example of excellent film-making but horrible marketing. They tried marketing Speed Racer for little kids, when it clearly wasn’t a movie meant for kids!?! Speed Racer is a movie that played into the nostalgia factor that we share for these classic childhood heroes. All from the tongue and cheek banter, the exaggerated visuals, the vibrant colors, the completely unexpected story twist, and the quintessential happy ending. Speed Racer played to all those familiar plot devices and made it fun to watch them again, even though I’m 20 years old and the last time I’ve watched the original Speed Racer cartoon was when I was 6 years old! But, thankfully the marketing department for Wild Things seems to be learning from Speed Racer’s woes. One clear indication is the song selection in the trailer; “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire which is an amazing song and a completely perfect pairing for this movie. The choice for Arcade Fire’s song is a move to resonate with mature audiences, and to demonstrate that this is not a typical Hollywood adaptation but sticking with more an independent feel. Being a fan of Spike Jonze previous work, especially Being John Malkovich, I’m super hyped for this movie and have a good feeling that it’s going to be real good.

Here are a couple of other childhood stories/TV shows I wish to be adapted for mature audiences in the big screen:
1. Smurfs
2. Winnie-the-Pooh
3. The Magic School Bus
4. Jetsons