If there were a list of the top five people trustworthy enough to turn one of the greatest children’s books ever written into a movie, Spike Jonze would be one of them. (Kindred sprits Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham being two of the others). From the opening moments of his trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, the childlike glee coupled with a little bit of nervousness that I used to get upon opening Maurice Sendak‘s pages returned to me. The small hairs on my arms stood up and made it clear I will shell out my life savings ($36.18) to see this film as soon as it hits the big screen.
At his core, Jonze is a music video hit-maker (Beastie Boys‘ “Sabotage” and Weezer‘s “Buddy Holly,” to name a few) who happens to do exceedingly well at making full-length feature films. As we saw with 1999’s masterpiece, Being John Malkovich, Jonze is able to sew reality and fantasy together in ways that seem completely tangible. Of course there’s a secret passageway into John Malcovich’s brain! Of course the only way to leave his mind is to be thrown into a ditch by the New Jersey Turnpike! If Spike tells me it is so, it is so.
For those unfamiliar with Max and his land of Wild Things, call your parents and promptly cry into the phone to tell them how you were robbed of your childhood. After that, run out to your local mom-and-pop bookshop and purchase the paperback (Or heck, the hardback. Or possibly the bronzed art book). You will not regret it. The film adaptation seems to focus on Max’s family life a bit more than the book. If my interpretation of the trailer is correct, Max isn’t just a naughty boy who gets sent to his room for being foul, he’s a boy dealing with his mom’s new romantic life and creates a world in which he is the center of the universe. The Wild Things are his new family, but even with a family he creates, there are new challenges.
Jonze has pulled together an all-star crew for this endeavor. With a cast including Being John Malkovich star Catherine Keener (yum), Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, Catherine O’Hara and Forest Whitaker, movie-goers are in for a real treat. The film’s DP, Lance Acord , was responsible for the vibrant cinematography of Marie Antoinette.
To top it all off, the queen of my O spot, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, has partnered with Carter Burwell (No Country for Old Men, In Bruges, Burn After Reading) to create the soundtrack. The hotness never ends.
As you can see in the trailer below, it begins with Max carried by James Gandolfini’s (OMG Tony Soprano!) Wild Thing. It sounds as if Bjork and Matmos have come to the forest to produce the foley artistry. Cue Win Butler’s voice and the rest of The Arcade Fire’s music chasing Max in his wolf suit and you’ve got one hell of a trailer.
Forget about the movie, I could watch the trailer over and over again (and I have).
I’m calling it now — this is The Neverending Story for a new generation.