Wed
Mar 25 2009 6:49pm
Where the Wild Things Are movie trailer

And now, let the wild rumpus start: the first trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic book has just arrived, premiering for the first time earlier today. The film, directed by Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and scripted by Dave Eggers, is scheduled for an October release. I should admit that I’m probably a little over-invested in this movie, since Sendak’s book constitutes sacred ground in my world. As a kid with a major obsession with escapist literature, Where the Wild Things Are always represented the purest and most honest expression of the desire for freedom, adventure, and control felt in response to the relative powerlessness of being a child in an adult world.

While most children’s lit seeks to gently curb those desires, usually convincing its young protagonists of the ultimate superiority and safety of the grown-up rules of order, Sendak changed the game, allowing his hero, Max, to enjoy himself thoroughly until he’s had his fill and is ready to go home again. The story is so beautifully simple, and the fact that it never moralizes and doesn’t judge sets the book apart, allowing it to speak honestly and without condescension to children and adults for almost five decades. I can only hope that the film, which has been produced with the author’s blessing and cooperation, will capture the same spirit—but at least now we know it looks good. The trailer is strange and beautiful, with fantastic use of light, and Jonze’s decision to use costumed actors rather than CGI or animation certainly seems to work on a visual level. So far, so good—but I’ll be awaiting further developments with crossed fingers and bated breath.

12 comments
Irene Gallo
1. Irene
When I heard this was being done I completely wrote it off...but, shockingly, this does look good.

Sendak, Suess, and Ezra Jack Keats were my holy trinity as a kid....and that hasn't changed much in the 30someodd years since.
Richard Fife
2. R.Fife
This has a double weight to me, both from my childhood and now that I read the book to my children (Aged 3 and 1 right now). I am thrilled to see it looking good, and at least in this preview, it does seem to capture that feeling of freedom and fun in the Land of the Wild Things.

If they repackaged the rest of my youth and resold it to me like this, I might not be bitter about it *grumblegrumbletransformersgrumble*
Dave Thompson
3. DKT
Amazing trailer. And that Arcade Fire song suits it so well. Here's hoping the movie delivers on the trailer's promise.
Jason Henninger
4. jasonhenninger
I absolutely applaud the decision to use costumes rather than CGI. And the scene of him running, silhouetted, really sold me. I will definitely see this.
Tara Chang
5. tlchang
Oh, this looks better than I was (fearfully) expecting. Am cautiously relieved.
Phil Frederick
6. flosofl
Man, if they mess this up...

Well, let's just say that it would make Harry Potter, LoTR, and Watchmen fans look like they mildly objected to any deviation from their canon.

My parents still have a copy of this that enthralled two generations of my family.
Meagan Brorman
7. nutmeag
Arcade Fire, FTW. I was on the fence with this one, but I think that song clinched it for me.
Jared Kardos
8. darkknightjared
I don't remember being all that big on the book (don't think the folks ever bought it for me--got into children's books pretty early), but the movie does look pretty good. :)
seth johnson
9. seth
Thanks for posting the news of the trailer release. It looks like Spike Jonze's epic battle to protect his vision for the movie against the producers' efforts to cut costs and apply box office formulas has been successful. More than a year ago, there were rumors that Warner Brothers was going to dump all of Spike's work on this and re-shoot the entire thing. So much time has passed, apparently the studio and director have negotiated changes that has stalled the project.

Seth
Torie Atkinson
10. Torie
I dunno about this one... I, too, am fiercely loyal to the book and not sure I could stomach an adaptation that looks unintentionally kind of hokey. I also hate the song they chose for the trailer, which is funny since you all seem to like it.

Who am I kidding? I'll see it anyway. :)
Irene Gallo
11. Irene
Some nice stills and a little bit of commentary here
Bridget McGovern
12. BMcGovern
And over at totalfilm.com, there's an excellent summary of "The Story Behind Where the Wild Things Are," beginning ten years ago when Sendak first asked Spike Jonze to take on the project. Interesting, and *illustrated* (always good)...

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