Why, oh, why is Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are still a whole year away? His big screen take on Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book wrapped principal photography last December, and, since then, we’ve been teased with one amazing still image (seen above). Other than that, all has been excruciating mystery. Until now.
The kids at New York Magazine‘s "Vulture" blog have scored what I believe to be the big news of the week: they’ve reviewed Jonze’s and Dave Eggers’s screenplay! And they claim it’s "really, really good"! So why, if "Vulture" broke this last Tuesday, am I just now finding out about it via Anne Thompson’s blog at Variety?
According to the brief review (of an October 2005 draft), Jonze and Eggers have successfully expanded the narrative, thus creating a "more moving version of what Maurice Sendak’s book has always been at heart: a book about a lonely boy leaving the emotional terrain of boyhood behind." In this telling, Max doesn’t set sail for the island of the Wild Things until page twenty-one, which allows Jonze and Eggers to more fully capture the sadness of Max’s life – i.e. "an absent father, an older sister who’s drifting away from him, a mother whose personal and job concerns leave her little time or energy for the rambunctious boy she dearly loves."
This might strike some as a little heavy, but it sounds like the writers bring the rumpus once Max reaches the island; according to "Vulture", tornadoes are wrestled, hawks tamed and mud eaten. Meanwhile, the emotional poignancy of the setup is deftly maintained. The
thought of Spike Jonze bringing Sendak’s indelible
illustrations to life with an assist from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is
too much. By all rights, this should be glorious.
So click over the "Vulture" for more details, and get yourself worked up over a movie that won’t be released until October 3rd, 2008.