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Sub Movie: Where the Wild Things Are

Tatiana Spragins | Thursday, January 28, 2010

Everyone’s classic bedtime story book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” is still a favorite today even though it was first published in 1963. Fortunately for those of you who miss those good old days, you’ll get a chance to revisit the tale at a whole other level this weekend. SUB will be presenting Spike Jonze’s beautifully produced 2009 film adaptation tonight and Saturday.

The movie, with its lovely photography, simple lines and incredible acting by the little boy who plays Max (Max Records), caused quite a stir when it came out and for good reason. Although it is based on a children’s book and has “monsters” as main characters, this is no movie for kids. The delicate sentimentality that Jonze brought to the adaptation makes it a movie for the generations who read “Where the Wild Things Are” as children, not for the children still reading it. Be sure you’ll feel an unsettling sense of anxiety as you watch Max deal with the Wild Things and all of their naturally childish fears, emotions and thoughts.

The result is a sometimes dark, sometimes childishly carefree movie about the mind and emotions of children. It manages to be both charming and heartbreaking all in one.
What is also particularly remarkable is how Jonze manages to adapt this three-minute read into a story plot of two hours. It could have easily been an extension of the book without ever losing any bit of its magic. He details Max’s adventures as King of the Wild Things and the viewer, who now has the wise eyes of adulthood and maturity, learns that the wild things are nothing more than children who never grew up. Turns out that where the Wild Things are is where our childhood is, and we’re the Wild Things.

Also worth noting is the beautiful cinematography and awesome soundtrack. Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ lead singer Karen O and The Kids composed a dreamy track that fits in oh-so-perfectly with basically everything in the movie. Through this compilation, Jonze maintains a sense of innocence that truly characterizes the movie.

“Where the Wild Things Are” will make you laugh and it will make you sad, and when you leave, you will leave thoughtfully reminiscing the days in which you were a Wild Thing yourself, screaming and crying and telling everyone how much you hate them at one moment, only to giggle, cuddle up and tell that same person how much you love them the next.

Contact Tatiana Spragins at tspragin@nd.edu