Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where the Wild Things Aren't

Childhood books are sacred, and woe to the director who thinks he knows exactly how our beloved characters should act. (Let's just say Alfonso Cuarรณn and I are still not on speaking terms after the travesty that was Harry Potter III.) So Spike Jonze was walking on thin ice when he decided to retell Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak as a live-action film. I expected to be disappointed, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the movie was expanded to include various plot lines, the heart of the story remained the same. Jonze captured what it is like to be a normal child, a child who fights and cries and roars. We are so contained in our daily lives that it was refreshing to watch a character who is unafraid to unleash his wild side. Part of me wanted to stand up in the movie theater and join Max's ruckus. Max is the child-like part of us that can speak his mind and dream the world as it should be. We only become adults when we swallow our anger and frustration, and forget that we are allowed to roar. Those who love us won't judge our outbursts or fall from grace, but will welcome us back with a hot meal and a comforting smile. In the end, Where the Wild Things Are has reminded me of where the wild things aren't, and inspired me to find my inner child once again.

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