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Where The Wild Things Are

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MacGuffin

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Reply #285 on: October 09, 2009, 11:34:20 PM
Consider this Rumor Mill-worthy, but the Things from Another World retail website is taking pre-orders for Warner's Where the Wild Things Are on single-disc DVD (SRP $28.99), 2-disc DVD special edition ($34.99) and a Blu-ray ($39.99) formats. According to the site, the release date is reportedly set for 1/6/10, but that's a Wednesday. Nevertheless, January 2010 seems a reasonable timeframe, though keep in mind that the film hasn't yet been released in theatres (it opens next week, on 10/16), the date is hasn't been officially announced and whatever it is, it's almost certainly subject to change.
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MacGuffin

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Reply #286 on: October 12, 2009, 05:25:30 PM
Danger lurks in Jonze adaptation of `Wild Things'
Source: AP

LOS ANGELES - Spike Jonze recalls how Maurice Sendak urged him to make the movie version of "Where the Wild Things Are" as dangerous as the book was when the children's classic came out in 1963.

The question now is whether Jonze made it too dangerous.

The film arrives in theaters Friday, a year later than originally planned by distributor Warner Bros. The studio was queasy over the dark, menacing tinges Jonze brought to the story about a boy who sails off to an island where resident monsters proclaim him their king.

"It wasn't what they were expecting," Jonze said in an interview. "We just ran into the sort of quagmire of like, `That's not what we thought it was going to be.'"

Instead of a cozy children's movie, Jonze crafted a tale about childhood, with a lot of the messy issues adults pay a fortune to exorcise through psychoanalysis. It touches on divorce and feelings of abandonment. It presents a child acting out in ugly, even violent ways, engaging in a shrill shouting match with his mother and running away from home in a red rage. Its monsters resemble the beloved images of Sendak's picture book, but their moodiness and occasional ferocity may prove more unsettling than endearing to viewers.

At a test screening of an early cut, some children found the wild things creepy and scary.

Rather than snatching the $80 million project away from Jonze, Warner decided to give him more time. Jonze reshot some scenes, and he spent the past year applying computer animation to create the facial expressions on his wild things, which were shot live on set using actors inside giant monster suits.

The result certainly is more challenging, and potentially more rewarding, than many family films.

In keeping with the sparse few hundred words of Sendak's text, the story is slim, Jonze providing a snapshot of a broken family before sending his young protagonist, Max, to the realm of the wild things.

The film plays out in an impressionistic manner akin to Sendak's book, Max having some wild rumpus adventures among his new friends, whose erratic behavior veers from loving to threatening.

When first published, the book found some harsh critics who thought its images were too frightening for children and that Max's disobedience set a bad example.

Sendak, who told Jonze at the start to make the story his own, said he was pleased with the results and that he and the filmmaker have become close friends.

"As you do these things, you relive them — and that's not always a pleasant experience," Sendak said. "Spike was reliving his business and giving Max his Spikean drama, which is what it was all supposed to be. I was not supposed to sit there and tell them, `Make it this way, make it that way.' If anybody had done that to me while I was making the book, I would have had a fit."

Sendak and Jonze had talked for years about adapting the book to film. Jonze had been reticent, uncertain what he could bring to the story and not wanting to fabricate some contrived plot line to expand it to movie length.

He finally found his way into the story as he mused about not where the wild things are, but who they are.

"The idea that I came up with is if the wild things are wild emotions. As a kid, one of the things that can feel scary or out of control is wild emotions, out-of-control emotions, either in yourself or the people around you," Jonze said. "Having a tantrum, that's scary as a kid, because you just see red. ... Trying to make a movie that feels like what it feels to be 9 years old at times, that was the idea."

With a screenplay co-written by Jonze and author Dave Eggers, the movie is a visual marvel, no surprise from the director who turned identity and perception on its head with his first two films, "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation."

And voiced by James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, Catherine O'Hara and Paul Dano, Jonze's monsters have true soul, their dialogue punctuated with whoops of joy or authentically weary sighs that make their emotional swings feel very human.

Cast members said the story offers valuable lessons in human behavior for young audiences.

"This is a fantasy environment for kids to be able to address their own fears so they can try to figure out what's going on inside of them, and see an example of themselves," Whitaker said. "You start to understand why he's throwing these tantrums, but then you start to see that maybe those tantrums aren't so healthy, aren't so cool."

Even if the film enlightens, though, it still might intimidate some.

Max Records — the 12-year-old actor who stars as Sendak's Max — said reaction was mixed among students at his school in Portland, Ore., where the film was screened recently.

"There were some kids who absolutely loved it and just thought it was really amazing," Records said. But at certain moments, some younger children "were just like, `I don't want to listen to this.' They just like, covered their ears or their eyes."

Any kid fears about the movie being too intense actually could be parents' fears, said "Being John Malkovich" co-star Catherine Keener, who plays Max's mother.

"I totally think the parents are more afraid. They're projecting a lot of stuff," Keener said. "I really hope that parents can just roll with this."

Warner Bros. certainly is rolling with it, debuting "Where the Wild Things Are" in 3,500 theaters with a big marketing blitz, hoping to score a commercial success before the barrage of holiday-season films begin to arrive in early November.

However audiences respond, Jonze is glad he got to adapt the story his way — and that Sendak approves.

"I knew we'd always make our movie, ultimately. I was never going to compromise. To care about something, to work on something this long, I was never going to let it become something it shouldn't," Jonze said.

"I was worried that when it came down to them marketing it, that they would try and sell it as something it wasn't. Try and sell it as this safe children's movie. But I think they've done a good job at being honest about it. ... They've not only accepted the movie, but they've embraced it in the marketing of it."
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picolas

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Reply #287 on: October 15, 2009, 12:36:39 AM
got into a packed advanced screening. had to sit three rows from the front. turned out to be the best seats to see this movie from.

*i talk a little about structure and vague things i liked.. not really spoilerful, but if you want to go in and be 100% surprised maaaybe don't read*

this wasn't what i was expecting but it was really incredible and i love it. jonze has totally accomplished his goal of capturing what the heck childhood is. it actually reminded me of things i'd forgotten about... the most impressive and inspiring thing about this movie to me is its lack of structure, just like a kid would imagine it.. it feels like a run-on sentence in the best possible way, inventing and re-inventing itself as it goes.. it's really really really funny.. all the wild things have such perfectly defined personalities, representing these precise facets of a child's personality.. james gandolfini is inspired and perfect casting. catherine o'hara does an amazing job too... best cgi acting EVER. i'm seriously impressed by just how expressive.. specifically, uniquely expressive the faces were. i kept expecting for it to enforce some kind of moral perspective, just cause i'm trained to expect it from children's movies. the "and what have we learrrrrnned??" part. but it's too real for that. it really is a piece of childhood. it shows imagination as not just an idealized, wonderful place where everything's carefree.. not the imagination we expect in a kid's movie, but also a place filled with conflict and darkness. because for a child imagination is an all-purpose way of dealing with the world. not just escaping from it.


samsong

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Reply #288 on: October 16, 2009, 05:39:17 AM
liked it despite finding it to be a bit of a disappointment.  the effort to make an honest film about childhood is respectable but not entirely successful.  much of it resonates but i'm not sure what jonze is getting at through the overabundance of childlike articulation--it's mostly all cadence and no meaning.  there are times when this film viscerally evokes the feeling of childhood but it doesn't sustain nor develop it into anything worthwhile to walk away with.  for all the elaborations it makes on the book, it lacks the eloquence and incisive mysteriousness the book had in addressing a child's perspective.  "childhood is messy too" will inevitably be used to validate how unwieldy this movie is but i think where the wild things are suffers from a messiness that results from miscalculation and overindulgence.  it was hard to imagine how they could've turned this book into a feature-length film without it being overstuffed, and they haven't,  but there's elation to be experienced here, just in uneven spurts; this is definitely a case of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole. 

it's a muddled, naval-gazing treat of a film.  absolutely loved the beginning of this film but it was all too brief (felt like more time needed to be spent establishing max's reality).  the scene with max and his mom while she's on the phone and the bit directly following that is so good it's unreal.  karen o's soundtrack is hit or miss. 


JG

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Reply #289 on: October 16, 2009, 05:55:07 PM
man, as usual, samsong says it best. messy and pretty okay, but i thought the music mostly bad and wayy overused.


Reinhold

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Reply #290 on: October 17, 2009, 11:26:17 PM
accurate review, samsong. the music was hit or miss, and i'd say there was a little too much of it.

i disagree about the film missing/mishandling childhood. not just because childhood is messy. i think that the film beautifully captured the isolation of an angry kid.  this film really illustrated the isolation, sadness, and confusion that characterize childhood anger. the structure of the film followed that experience so well. i think that if it felt hurried, it felt hurried in the same way that a lot of childhood imagination games are hurried-- especially when you're really trying to think about something else, not just playing. the anger thing, though, was just so well handled. feeling out of control, feeling like you're fucking it up and not wanting to (just too late), giving in to getting carried away, hating that you know better but you're giving in anyway, going deep into your imagination and cooling down... and coming back to the world.

the last two shots of the film were so perfect. each actor really nailed it. it's love.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.


tpfkabi

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Reply #291 on: October 19, 2009, 10:32:42 AM
tell me what i missed. i got there right on time and there was a line. when i got up there it was probably 5 after and i asked if the show had started. they said i had 2 min. walk in and it's already started.

i think the first thing i saw was max in the house messing with a dog and then the handwritten title card. probably not much, but sometimes the first first shot or sound can set an interesting tone.

i couldn't believe there were so little previews in front of it, especially a kids' movie.
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Pozer

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Reply #292 on: October 19, 2009, 11:28:32 AM
tell me what i missed. i got there right on time and there was a line. when i got up there it was probably 5 after and i asked if the show had started. they said i had 2 min. walk in and it's already started.

i think the first thing i saw was max in the house messing with a dog and then the handwritten title card. probably not much, but sometimes the first first shot or sound can set an interesting tone.

i couldn't believe there were so little previews in front of it, especially a kids' movie.

translation: I have no ideas, let alone big ones to put toward the film.


tpfkabi

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Reply #293 on: October 19, 2009, 01:37:11 PM
tell me what i missed. i got there right on time and there was a line. when i got up there it was probably 5 after and i asked if the show had started. they said i had 2 min. walk in and it's already started.

i think the first thing i saw was max in the house messing with a dog and then the handwritten title card. probably not much, but sometimes the first first shot or sound can set an interesting tone.

i couldn't believe there were so little previews in front of it, especially a kids' movie.

translation: I have no ideas, let alone big ones to put toward the film.

how can i comment on an incomplete film, pubrickozer?
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RegularKarate

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Reply #294 on: October 19, 2009, 01:52:45 PM
You missed corporate logos.

I'm just echoing here, really.  I was also disappointed, but still enjoyed it.  I really liked the child-logic, but wanted to see more about how that world affected Max's real life. 

Still stunning, but I wasn't blown away.


Pedro

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Reply #295 on: October 19, 2009, 02:42:23 PM
I'm in line with what most are saying:  I was disappointed but still impressed.  Visually, the film was absolutely arresting.  I thought the soundtrack was beautiful and not overused.  The acting was spot on and the Wild Things were incredible to watch.  I agree about the inspired casting of Gandolfini as well.  The ability of Jonze and Eggers to tap into the thought process of a child was very very impressive.  I forgot that I had thought that way, but seeing the movie reminded me of EXACTLY what being a kid was like.  Wow, the more I write this the more it seems that I wasn't disappointed at all.  What disappointed me the most was at the same time what impressed me the most:

This is spoilery

The parallels between Max's own situation and that of Carol's were absolutely moving and beautiful to watch, but I think that it took a little too much time for this theme to be developed.  It was as if it was decided during the last drafting process or something.  Of course, you don't want it to be too overbearing, so I could understand why they would wait until the end to make it most obvious.  Maybe I was just missing something. 

end spoil

All in all it was a good movie, maybe even great, but honestly I was expecting to weep. 


tpfkabi

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Reply #296 on: October 19, 2009, 02:53:53 PM
One thing that really stood out to me - during the Max/Mom on telephone scene (I think this is where it was) - is there a Karen O soundtrack bit where she's kinda screaming in the right channel?

I was sitting on the right side and thought it might have been bleeding from the neighboring screen, but I don't think it was. It was very weird.
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©brad

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Reply #297 on: October 20, 2009, 11:47:36 PM
I loved loved loved loved loved it.

More later, after I digest.


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Reply #298 on: October 21, 2009, 01:21:21 PM
Parents upset, bored by 'Where the Wild Things Are'Story Highlights
Parents who watched the film with their kids over the weekend didn't find it scary
Source: CNN

(CNN) -- Parents may have fond memories of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book, "Where the Wild Things Are." But if their social-networking postings are any indication, some are not pleased with the movie.

The creatures may look scary, but parents said their kids didn't find them so wild.

"It was joyless. There were maybe 15 minutes of the hour and a half that my kids were into it," said James Griffioen of Detroit, Michigan.

His 4-year-old daughter asked, "Why is this movie so sad?" in the middle of their family's matinee viewing, while his son, a 20-month-old who normally can't get enough of the 1963 children's classic, was simply bored, he told CNN.

"I think the book is almost designed for the 1-to-4 age group," said Griffioen, 31. "The text is so simple, and it fits in with the other books that are appropriate for that age level, which is why the movie is so strange because it seemed much more dedicated to the 8-to-12 age group."

Movie critics were, on the whole, approving of the PG-rated film, though the poor reviews were particularly scathing. "I have a vision of 8-year-olds leaving the movie in bewilderment. Why are the creatures so unhappy?" wrote The New Yorker's David Denby.

The heavily publicized film, which opened in theaters last Friday and debuted on top of the weekend box office, seemed to do too much, said Griffioen. He thought much of the problem lay in the script, by director Spike Jonze and author Dave Eggers, which expanded on the 10-sentence children's book.

"As someone who reads that book to his kid every day, I wanted it to be a movie he could be thrilled about. I think there almost wasn't enough of a fear element -- there was never a moment when my [20-month-old] was crying. He was totally into the scenes when they're throwing stuff at each other, because that's what he's accustomed to from the book."

But Jason Avant, founder and editor of parent-focused review site Dadcentric.com, thinks taking children any younger than 5 is pushing it, because they'll probably end up bored or scared. Several reviewers have said that the movie has more of an adult perspective and that its PG rating is earned. Avant and his 5-year-old son loved the movie when they caught a matinee last weekend.

"Family movies and kid movies have become so safe and homogenized and shallow in a sense," Avant said. "['Wild Things' is] such a real depiction of how a kid acts -- the mood swings, the temper tantrums. My son is like that: he's happy as a clam one minute and he's throwing a tantrum the next; everything is so urgent and immediate. It was interesting to watch him watch it, and I think it struck a chord with him in a way that kept him interested."

For Devon Adams in Chandler, Arizona, the problem wasn't keeping his 5-year-old daughter, Claire, interested -- it was dealing with the aftermath of the violent scenes.

"She and her friend seemed to enjoy the film, but when she returned home, she threw her own tantrum, bit her mother very hard (something she does not do), and told her she was going to run away from home and go to where the wild things are," Adams said.

Adams, a high school English teacher who considers himself to be a big "Wild Things" fan, expected "a story about a boy throwing a tantrum and being sent to his room without dinner, [imagining] going away to a far off land where he feels important, and eventually realizes that he misses his family and returns home."

In his view, what he got was radically different.

"I did not expect a film that promotes a weak parent figure who fails to seem to be concerned for her children, a main character who truly seems to need a therapist and a 'Wild Thing' that throws temper tantrums by destroying private property and physically abusing others," Adams said.

Frequent iReport reviewer Rajiim Gross said his 4-year-old granddaughter seemed to enjoy the film, but he did not. "It was just dull through the whole thing," Gross said, noting that he saw several people in his Fort Thomas, Kentucky-area theater fall asleep during the movie. Watch Gross give his review

Griffioen thought the original story's ferocity was dampened by the more adult themes.

"[They] took this book about imagination and escape and turned it into an hour and a half of Muppet therapy," he said. "There were obvious themes of working on divorce pains, but Max was the king of all wild things, not a family therapist. The kid uses his imagination to work through all of his issues, but that's something that you do when you're 22 and in college, not something you do when you get in your boat and sail off to where the wild things are."

But, said reviewer Avant, someone Griffioen's age is probably a better audience for the film.

"It's definitely aimed at adults," Avant said. "I wouldn't necessarily call it a kid movie, but rather a movie about being a kid."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Cory Everett

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Reply #299 on: October 21, 2009, 02:07:32 PM
People Have Differing Opinions On Movie
Source: CNN

(CNN) -- This is not a news story.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.