Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wild Things Don't Make Our Heart Sing

Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are is a marvel.  In the simplest story possible, it opens up to very young readers some of the timeless truths about childhood:  rebellion against your parents, the desire to escape into a land without rules, and the ultimate hollowness of such a land, when compared to the comfort of home and hearth.

It is, by the way, a scary book.  The "wild things" are about as frightening to look at as any young person should be asked to handle, and of course the prospect of your child's self-differentiation (much less disappearance) can be disturbing to parents.  But all of that is part of the book's rare combination of power and restraint, handled as well as the very best folktales.

But now Hollywood has it.  From the look of this trailer, they have made it a story for much older people.  Max is way too big for his wolf jammies; he goes to school; his parents carnal preoccupations are just embarrassing.  And the Wild Thing carrying him through the woods is a lot scarier than a Wild Thing dancing on the printed page.

We'll probably check it out, eventually.  But Little Baby Anonymous may not see it for a long time to come.

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