Round One: WHayes on Where The Wild Things Are

Posted 4/16/2010 by WHayes in Labels: , , , , , , , ,
Art Star being a blog (for now, *wink*), I'd like to think we're allowed to make a few generalizations in setting up an argument, all for the sake of expediency. So while I could write you an entire thesis on how the best children's stories are allegories for the trials adults face as well, lets just accept that as a given for now.

Spike Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are, adapted from Sendak original (haven't you read this part in every blog and newspaper in the country before?), falls into the allegorical window, but I'm not entirely sure why. Max does learn just how hard it can be for his mother to make a life for them through his attempts at living and loving with the Wild Things, but something about that moral just feels...unfinished, now that I've had a few months to stew on the film.

So, if unfinished is the case, how much higher should Jonze have reached? Teaching a child to empathize with a parent is definitely an admirable and lofty goal, but is there something more Wild Things could do with its premise? More importantly, what could it do without sinking (further) into a gloom that inadvertently ends up turning kids away from soaking up the messages? This isn't to say the film doesn't hit a few home runs on certain topics, like:
  • Showing that even a fantasy isn't always what you expect it to be.
  • Showing that love, even though it may be painful, is worth it to experience and give.
  • Showing that your imagination truly can build great things -- your own personal fort.
  • Showing how, nasty as it may be, it does take someone special to lead (to be a king), and that a lot of shit can splatter if you aren't who you say you are.
  • Showing how, as painful as it is, sometimes family members let each other down.
  • Providing a world that feels like a fairy tale, albeit one with real consequences. Trees get smashed, and so can little boys. Makes you wonder just how safe you really are, anywhere. Even in your own head.
I hate adspeak as much as the next guy, but I do recommend you see WTWTA as soon as possible. Go see it for the perfect use of real effects and CGI, for the imperfect steadycam (motion sickness is possible), for the fitting soundtrack, and to see some solid performances. Go if only so you can reflect on it like I've tried to and see where you think the film could have pushed for more. Max lives, learns, and goes home to (literally) eat his cake too. Did you get the sense his change was permanent? Does the semi-ambiguious ending serve the movie well? I don't think so, but I am curious to hear what you decide. Oh, and it doesn't sink into hipster moodiness nearly as much as some reviews suggest.

For more on Jonze, love, and even a couple robots, check out the preview for his Absolut vodka-sponsored short "I'm here." You can watch the film in its entirety here, but /film says Absolut has it limited to about 700 views (yeah, thats globally) a day. Get in when/while you can.

2 comment(s) to... “Round One: WHayes on Where The Wild Things Are”


CtotheB said...

feeling this.

WHayes said...

If only we could see the full thing.

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