I was lucky enough to catch a screening of Where the Wild Things Are last night at the Metreon in San Francisco. Author Dave Eggers, who co-wrote the screenplay was in attendence and said a few words before the start of the movie and a Q&A with director Spike Jonze, actress Catherine Keener (‘Mom’) and Max Records (‘Max’, the kid in the movie) followed the screening.
I really liked the movie. However, this isn’t quite a review as it is about a thought I had during the movie: I really don’t know how it would play for little kids. At times it was dark, the kind of bleakness that a child may have trouble coping with if watching on a big screen.
As I was discussing the movie with a coworker today (some people knew I was going to watch it and wanted my take on it), I told him the above. I said that although I got a sense that most of us in the theater really liked the movie, Where the Wild Things Are didn’t really come off as a family film and so I wondered how successful this movie would be. Don’t get me wrong, I want it to make a ton of money, I just couldn’t help thinking about it may have lost some of its potential audience due to the nature of the film.
My coworker said that this may not be a hindrance for the success of the movie. If anything, this movie is better off being aimed at adults.
I thought about that and realized he had a point.
The crowd in the theater consisted mostly of older people, from mid-twenties on up, with a lot of middle-aged folks in attendance. If Where the Wild Things Are was entirely for children, then multiple generations, the many who have read the book since the 60s, would have felt left out. Instead, we were given a movie about a child, about innocence, and it worked. Somehow, I was able to really connect with a movie in which the title character is a little boy in a wolf costume with an incredible imagination.
Of course, there’s another point that I may be missing entirely – maybe kids these days can handle more emotional upheaval than I give them credit for. They don’t need to be coddled, y’know?
Here’s hoping Where the Wild Things Are is the success that it deserves to be. Props to Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers for sticking with something that they believe would better represent the book instead of creating the film that the studio initially wanted. However, to give Warner Brothers credit, they did eventually come to see the movie as Jonze intended it. They also provided a print of the movie for benefit screenings, like the one I went to last night. The proceeds went directly to 826 Valencia writing/tutoring center. Very cool.
Also, just as an FYI, Dave Eggers wrote a novelized version of the movie called Wild Things, which will be released soon.
The movie will be released on October 16. Watch it!