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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Film Friday is where I blog about a book that’s been adapted into a film or a movie that is a film.  Today’s post is about one of the most renowned and beloved children’s books of all time that is FINALLY a film.

1963, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is published
1964, Where the Wild Things Are wins the Caldecott
1980’s, Scholastic Video releases a cartoon version along with other animated Sendak tales
1983, Disney conducts an animated screen test by John Lasseter, of Pixar fame (watch it here)
1990s, various attempts to make a film version are mounted, fail
2006, filming begins in Australia
2008, leaked footage, reshoots are ordered
2009, Where the Wild Things Are releases

I’ve been following the progress of this for awhile.  In 2008, leaked footage the movie was trashed, the Wild Things’ costumes criticized, and the whole project looked headed to be completely reshot. Warner Brothers was unhappy, the movie was terrifying for young children, etc. But here we are in 2009 and it’s awaiting release.

It has an excellent cast – indie faves Mark Ruffalo, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano.  TV vets James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose.  And one of my all-time favorites, Catherine O’Hara.

It’s an odd pairing behind this movie, hipster-favorite Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and Spike Jonze, who directed the quirky and surreal Adaptation and Being John Malkvoich. Judging from the trailers and movie clips I’ve seen, and the kid-chorus alongside Karen O (of The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s) composed soundtrack, this film seems tailored to two audiences. The story of Where the Wild Things Are at its heart is simple: escapism, and that’s what this story is about.  A little boy, who escapes to a magical world, forgets his problems for a little while, and when he comes back.. his dinner is still warm.

But the question remains..how can a book with barely 30 pages be a film?  We’ll see soon.

I hope that, despite the added elements to the story, the film keeps its darkness and whimsy at heart, and gives us all the feeling we had when we first read the book, and wished we were Max.
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