This past weekend my wife, my younger daughter, my niece, and myself went to go see a movie. My son and older daughter bowed out and stayed home, in a way I envy them.
I understand that in taking a ten sentence children’s book and crafting nearly two hours of movie from it things will have to be stretched out just a bit. There is a difference between stretched and invented though.
If you plan to see the film, and don’t want me to keep you from wasting your time and money stop reading now. Thar be spoilers ahead.
In the original work the main character, Max, starts off making mischief in a wolf costume. He is sent to his room without supper for it.
While in his room he imagines that a wild forest and sea grow out of his room. In his imagination he takes a boat to the island of the wild things. Now these wild things look scary and dangerous, but he is able to conquer them all by “staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once.” He is then made the king of all wild things.
Then Max and his wild things dance around in a “wild rumpus” full of good fun. Soon however he becomes bored and homesick, and pushes back the illusion to return to his room. Thats where he finds he has never really left at all, and his dinner is waiting for him, piping hot.
Heartwarming little tale right?
I thought so to. I have had daydreams before myself.
Now on to how this wonderful children’s book was murdered in cold blood. Sacrificed on the altar of capitalism simply so a fortune could be made showing pictures of the bloody corpse.
The book was a light hearted look at a childhood daydream. To the best of my knowledge it had nothing to do with the movie. Well, perhaps there was a copy of the book on a bookshelf in the house somewhere.
A movie based on a book intended for a preschool audience is not the place to go into some of the issues that were brought up.
The missing parent issue for one. It does not say why dad was gone, but it certainly makes it clear that mom is in the market. Hell, for all we know he was on a business trip.
I also have a problem with showing kids that age that assaulting your mother and running away are perfectly acceptable alternatives to say… not acting like an animal.
I have news for them, there really are wild things out in the world. If you run away just pray they don’t find you. I doubt they will actually eat you (though it happens), but you will take a dirt nap very soon thereafter. Then again by that time you’ll be glad of it.
Speaking of wild things, why oh why did they make them so emo? The only kind of sane one there, KW, simply wants to leave. Carol , who comes across as the leader, is a violent serial killer that cooks and feed his victims to the rest of the group. The rest of the cast of violent nutcases have their own issues that fall somewhere in between.
There is a lot more I found in this film I didn’t really care for, but I won’t go into every single thing here.
Are the issues of trust, family, respect, abandonment, and loss important? Most certainly.
Are they what I expected from a movie based on this particular story? No.
The social commentary is simply targeted at the wrong audience.
This is not, and was never intended to be a kid’s movie. This is a movie for adults about how it feels to be a kid. That is a huge difference.
I think a question my niece asked me as we left the theater sums up pretty well how it all went over. She was not enchanted, she was not excited, she was not even concerned, she was simply confused.
“Uncle Brad”, she asked as we walked to the car, “Why was everyone in the movie so sad?”
All I could tell her is, “Because they were written that way.”
That is where the wild things fail.
All in all it’s two hours of my life I wish I could have back. Perhaps I could have done something more entertaining, like scrubbing garbage cans perhaps.