Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shut the Wild Things Up

I decided to go see "Where the Wild Things Are," not because I was expecting anything great, but because so many people have seen it and wanted to talk about it, so I was curious enough to give it a shot.

I was wary from the start because of what Hollywood had done to "Shrek," a wonderfully dark book by William Steig, the prolific cartoonist for the New Yorker who turned to writing children's books late in life. I only needed to see a three-minute trailer for "Shrek" to know that the Hollywood treatment had stripped the true character of the book, so I opted out of seeing it.

For me, WTWTA, wasn't much better. To be fair, the wild things looked just like they did in the book, which was great. But they came across like characters in a bad sitcom, each vying to be the funniest or quirkiest or most endearing. And what run-on blabbers they were! In the book, they roared and gnashed their teeth, rolled their eyes and showed their claws; they did not whine or crack wise. I can't be the only one who tired of the wild things' personalities not shutting up.

But this movie was not made for me; it's obvious from the soundtrack who the target demographic is (and, make no mistake, I am a huge Karen O and Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs fan). But it was most definitely not made for fans of great children's books. Too bad Hollywood can't just let them be in print form where they shine brightest, as the authors intended.

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