By Brian Nelson
In a world of showering pink petals and dirt clod wars, the Wild Things can be found. Originally published in 1963, Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” has made its theatrical debut. The film is seen through the eyes of a child and offers a sense of wonder as the audience slips into the dream-like escape of reality that movies were made for.
Maurice Sendak’s children’s classic follows little Max in a wolf costume who is sent to bed without dinner after howling at his mother, “I’ll eat you up.” While in his bedroom, a forest slowly emerges all around him. Max climbs into a boat and sails until he finds the Wild Things, fury and feathery creatures who “mashed their terrible teeth” and “showed their terrible claws” upon the boy’s arrival. Max, however, becomes their king and lives among them until the sweet smell of his mother’s cooking lures him home.
The film adaptation proves a beautiful compliment to the book. Directed by Spike Jonze, who also helped Dave Eggers with the screenplay, “Where the Wild Things Are” translates the few words and familiar illustrations into a paralleling world. Max Records captures the character of Max who is curious, imaginative, sometimes lonely and sad, while occasionally out of control. After biting his mother, Max runs out the front door, down the street and out of his mother’s reach. He finds a boat and sails away from the world he was born into. Max arrives on an island where he discovers and befriends the Wild Things. During his stay, Max parallels his mother by yelling “You are out of control” to the Wild Thing known as Carol, voiced by James Gandolfini. Soon after this reversal of roles, Max begins the journey back home.
The Wild Things are sure to become a family favorite, while also a work of art in the film industry. A majority of the film was captured with a handheld camera, offering the whirling views of a child’s world. The Wild Things themselves were brought to life by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. C.G.I. was only used on the Wild Things for facial expressions. The combination of the two truly brought the Wild Things to life with their “terrible claws” and “terrible teeth.”
“Where the Wild Things Are” will forever be analyzed to have countless messages tucked within the 101 minutes of running time. Most importantly, but possibly overlooked, Wild Things reminds the viewer of the child within. This is partially expressed through the incredible soundtrack, by Karen O and Carter Burwell, which contains a chanting echo of children.
Though adapted from a children’s book, the film may prove to be frightening to young children, and has been rated PG, for Parental Guidance. “Where the Wild Things Are” was released in theaters October 16.
Brian Nelson is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.