I am always dubious of my favorite books becoming movies. Choke, The Time Travelers Wife, Bridge to Terabithia, X-men, Transformers (although not a book, it was still ruined by being put into a movie formate). I was actually headed to the theater to see Surrogates, because I am a Bruce Willis junky (and I will gouge your eyes out with a pepper mill if you make fun of me for that), but it opens next week. So there I was, willing to spend almost $10 on a movie, which is a mind set that doesn’t occur often in my life, and I was split betwixt Zombieland, which got two dismembered undead thumbs up from Krumbine himself, and Where The Wild Things Are, which happened to be my favorite book as a little wild thing. I’ve gifted that book to wild things of all ages and it always is appreciated by either the recipients, or the keepers of the wild thing.
The writing is great, from the opening scene in the wolf costume to the last. It is not typical children humor or childrens storytelling, thanks to the efforts of screen writers Spike Jonze (Favorites include Weezer, Beastie Boys, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich) and Dave Eggers (Favorites include Might Magazine, What is the What, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and Chicago’s own Boring Store). Max is unruly in a charming yet slightly off-putting way. In fact, the charm vs. this-could-easily-go-wrong tension is present through out the whole film and at points creates some very drastic emotional reversal-of-fortune moments. The voice acting is superb, and if you have any inkling of seeing this movie, I suggest NOT RESEARCHING IT AT ALL and surprising yourself with every scene, every sound, and every image that gets splashed before your eyes.
The book is 20 pages if that so there was a lot of room to work with. The Wild Things are believable because the CG is perfectly integrated with that classic guy-with-fuzzy-zipper-showing-costume-and-huge-ping-pong-ball-head-on look. The movie feels real, from the claws ripping through trees to the sand in the hair and getting everywhere feeling. I believed every second of it. Every second.
Some scenes had me laughing my ass off, and yes, I even dropped a tear at the appropriate moment, something that happens even more rarely than me turning down a hot dog, and left the theater feeling good, wanting to write about it, wanting to share this book, this story, the movie with anyone who would listen.
The wild thing in me loved it, and so will you. Unless you suck.