Merry Wanderer of the Night + where the wild things are

Where the Wild Things Are

Since I live on campus and have no car it is very difficult for me to go to the movies, at least for feature films. I did manage to escape over the weekend to my home away from home, Des Moines, where my boyfriend took me to Where the Wild Things Are. Being the book obsessed girl that I am I was very excited to see the movie, especially since it was one of my childhood favorites. Since I saw it a week after it came out I was also able to hear what a lot of other people thought about it. Most of the things I heard surprised me. My boyfriend's aunt, a librarian, absolutely hated it. Several people that I work with at the front desk in my residence hall also said it wasn't good. I also work at an elementary school where I heard a few teachers say they didn't like it. Obviously this made me very interested to find out why everyone was so against a movie I've been waiting to see since last March.

I can understand why so many people don't like Where the Wild Things Are. It is very different from the book, but the book is also, what, 32 lines? Since I am familiar with Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. Let's face it, neither one are the most conventional of characters, although both are brilliant. I feel like what is causing a lot of the dislike towards this movie is fear. The fear of being honest with children and not always creating a perfect happy ending. As we all know, Max returns to his mother at the end of the book, but that does not mean all the problems go away. His mother is still single and he is still a lonely little boy. The plot is very much for adults, but I do not think that means it is not also for children, or that children will not understand it.

On the contrary, I feel like the movie is great for children. The bulk of the movie takes place with the wild things, and this is where the imagination from Sendak, Eggers, and Jonze really shines. The home that is created is so magical I felt myself wanting to be a child again, more than have in a long time. The scenery is so breathtakingly beautiful (it was filmed in Australia) that I literally had to catch my breath at some points. The world created is one that children can dream about very several years. Even with the beauty, the movie deals a lot with loneliness, and loneliness is a concept I think all children are familiar with. I work with three children as a reading tutor and I can tell that all three of them are very aware of what loneliness is, and they feel it. This is the concept that I think is tying all of us together in this movie, answering to the tag, "There's one in all of us."

Overall I felt that the movie stuck to the spirit of the book, even if others do have problems with it. Where the Wild Things Are encourages imagination, honesty, and community, all three of which I think children's movies and books have been lacking in recently.

Release date: October 16, 2009
Running time: 101 minutes
Language: English
Director: Spike Jonze
Writers: Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze
Based on Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

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Where the Wild Things Are + where the wild things are