— by TOM ELCE —
If you’ve paid even the slightest bit of attention to the coverage of upcoming motion pictures, chances are you’re aware of Spike Jonze’s forthcoming “Where the Wild Things Are,” a film adaptation of the children’s picture book by Maurice Sendak.
It follows a young boy into a world of his own creation — an expansive forest that inhabited by wild beasts to be lorded over by him.
It’s a movie invoked by the avatars and post signatures of online forum frequenters, the recipient of charming promotional posters and the frequent first place on fans’ “most anticipated” lists.
Based on this new featurette, which offers tantalising glimpses of the finished product, the hype might just be warranted.
What we see between the empassioned accompanying words of source author Sendak are some of the most visually pristine frames in memory. From bones littered on the ground; to the furry outline of its creature designs (and the costumed protagonist); to a scene in which young Max is given his crown by one creature, the aesthetic lushness of what we see whets the appetite — like all good featurettes should do.
As for the featurette as a whole, it brings welcome relief. After hearing people like Alan Moore (of “V for Vendetta” and “Watchmen”) bemoan screen versions of their original material, it’s encouraging that “Where the Wild Things Are” author Sendak is on-hand with genuin enthusiasm for the film that’s become of his work. He seems genuinely pleased with the movie that Spike Jonze has made.
Jonze, who himself speaks positively about his new movie, is probably the best of the music video directors who have turned to feature-length filmmaking. He always seems on-hand with the quirkiest and most enriching of movies, having previously conspired with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman for the successful one-two punch of “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation.” He’s, for my money, one of the most promising directors working.
Whatever the history of those contributing, let’s hope “Where the Wild Things Are” lives up to expectation. After years of production problems followed up by these gorgeous clips, it almost needs to be great — a film to accompany 2007’s imaginative and heartfelt “Bridge to Terabithia” movie. Here’s hoping.
“Where the Wild Things Are” arrives in U.S. theaters Oct. 16 and U.K theaters Dec. 11.
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