Hype for ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ goes wild
I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. That title just had to be done. Like Max’s wolf costume in Dave Eggers’ novelization of the classic children’s story by Maurice Sendak, it just called to me. In fact, this whole blog post taunted me in the same way, saying, “It’s time.” You’ll understand when you get the novel.
I’m currently in the process of reading Eggers’ take, so I thought with one week left until Spike Jonze’s movie “Where the Wild Things Are” comes out, I would tell you a little about what I’ve learned and discovered in the novelization and go over what all is out there for you to go wild with between now and October 16.
Let’s start at the source. Maurice Sendak’s children’s book started it all. He created a world where the main character Max could escape to after being punished and sent to his bedroom without any supper. I remember my dad reading the book to me as a child. I always thought Max’s imagination and wolf costume were so cool. Naturally, when I heard Spike Jonze was creating a movie out of this book, I was super excited.
Now that excitement has grown. The images and trailers alone are shocking! Jonze has taken monsters that I recognized as imaginary even as a four-year-old and has brought life and depth to them. In fact, as I read Dave Eggers’ novelization – which is based on and expanded off of the script, which is based on and expanded off of the original book – I’m seeing a lot more depth across the board. Max is absolutely incredible in the book, and from the snippets I’ve seen of the screen version, I suspect I won’t be disappointed. If anything, the fact that Max is portrayed by a kid really named Max has to be a good sign, right? Check out this TV spot for more proof. I love when Max talks about not eating anyone.
Before I get too much farther, I wanted to mention a cool perk about the novelization. When I got my copy, I was impatient. I made an impulse buy at Borders, meaning I got the standard hardcover version. While this version looks really cool, and almost a bit retro, there’s a neater version out there on the World Wide Web that patient diehard fans might want to consider: A special fur-covered edition!
So far we’ve got an amazing children’s book, a wonderful expansion into a dazzling film (hopefully) and an insightful novelization. If this was perhaps a different movie with a different director, I’d be stopping here with nothing else worth mentioning. But this is Spike Jonze, who has the endorsement of Maurice Sendak, who decided that using real sets and furry costumes would be preferable to CG sets and characters. With so much riding on this, and with such attention to detail, the movie’s music for “Where the Wild Things Are” should be just as important. Well, much to my delight, it looks like Jonze hasn’t disappointed here either: He brought on Karen O of the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
If you know the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you know this is pretty cool news. It means the soundtrack will be accessible on an additional level rather than just providing background music. Stereogum recently streamed the album as well as gave an inside look at the creation of the soundtrack. This inside look ended up providing a glimpse into Jonze’s vision for the movie as well, which definitely makes it worth checking out. It turns out the children you hear in the songs were encouraged to act more like children with their singing, much to the chagrin of the children’s professional musical instructor.
Let’s make sure I covered all the bases:
- “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak – CHECK.
- Novelization “The Wild Things,” by Dave Eggers – CHECK.
- Movie directed and written by Spike Jonze – CHECK.
- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Karen O and the Kids – CHECK.
The only thing left to do is to actually see the movie, which opens in theaters and IMAX on Friday, October 16, 2009. Hopefully I can come back in a week and tell you that I just watched an amazing film that successfully expands on its source material. Hopefully I walk out of the theater smiling from ear-to-ear, feeling like a child.
Are you just as excited as I am? Have you checked out any of the items I just listed? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. And while you’re doing that, check out the latest trailer for “Where the Wild Things Are.”