Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

I have suddenly realized, that before going off to do my Masters in Children's Literature, I should actually KNOW something about Children's Literature. This epiphany led to the discovery, reading, understanding of Maurice Sendak's 1963 classic picturebook, "Where The Wild Things Are" which on the 16th of October 2009, will make its appearance as a full-length feature film.

I must admit, I couldn’t stand the book when I first read it some months ago. I prodded it in disgust and told Harry loudly, "I can't believe THIS is considered one of the greatest examples of children's literature in the world" and he agreed with me, just as loudly.

Then we read it again, and again, and again, and before we knew it, I was saying "That's a beautiful idea", and Harry was saying "That’s one of the most beautiful lines I’ve ever read", and somehow, without us knowing, we had fallen in love with the book - with the way Sendak wrote, with the way Sendak drew his Wild Things, with everything Max and his imagination represented.

The story is of a naughty little boy called Max, who is sent to bed without his dinner, because as his mother says, he is a wild thing. An angry Max, stuck in his room with only his anger to keep him company, imagines a forest, a vast ocean, and he finally reaches "The Wild Things" who "roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws" Obviously, Max tames these wild things, and they make him "King of all Wild Things" Max then leads his wild things into a wild rumpus, and they all revel in glorious rumpus-like revels, until Max's anger begins to fade, and loneliness sets in. From far far away, he smells his dinner, and realises that while rumpus-ing with wild things is fun, a place with dinner and "where someone loved him most of all" was the place he wanted to be. And so, he says goodbye to the wild things, and returns home. Where his dinner is waiting for him..."and it was still hot"

It's a story a 6 year old as well as an adult can relate to. How many us, when angry and unable to express that angry, fall back on fantasy and think of what we would do if we ruled the world, before we calm down and return the real world? All of us. Giving rein to anger through imagination is something we have done as children, and continue to do today.

While I have my misgivings about a children's picturebook being transformed into a feature film (especially a book comprising of 10 sentences) there are a few reasons this is a must-watch film
1) The trailer is most beautiful, and when I watched it in the theatre three months ago, I could hear people around me sniffling (in a good "Oh what a beautiful movie, must want to watch" kind of way) and I was a little goosepimply myself.
2) The movie is a product of the combined efforts of the director and Sendak, who spent around a decade perfecting it.
3) The most important reason of all: Its a Spike Jonze film, of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation fame. Jonze was handpicked by Sendak to bring his 10-sentence masterpiece to celluloid, and Sendak after seeing the completed cut said "I’ve never seen a movie that looked or felt like this. And it’s [Spike Jonze's] personal ‘this.’ And he’s not afraid of himself. He’s a real artist that lets it come through in the work. So he’s touched me. He’s touched me very much"

So while Im fortunate enough to have the wild things in my bookshelf (and in the most furious of my imaginings), I will on the 16th of October, "sail off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost a year to where the wild things are"

5 responses to "Let the Wild Rumpus Start."

  1. 'Don't go! We'll eat you up...'
    The book seriously is incredible because it's the first time I ever appreciated that the writer must realise the book is going to be read over and over and over and over again. And not like a novel, but as a thought to put your kid to bed to every night.
    But man! I had no clue it was a Spike Jonze film! Tejas and I are yet to do our Kaufman (He wrote BJM and Adaptation) tribute post but jeez louise, Jonze doing Wild Things will be trippy at the least.
    Ps. thank you mostest for manning ship. or Womanning the ship anyway.


  2. Womanning!

    Yes, I remember how much you loved the "Don't go! We'll eat you up...we love you so!" You giggled for hours. I loved that line because in the beginning of the book, Max gets angry at his Mom, growls and yells "I'll eat you up!" Then later in his imagination (in the line you love), Max reveals that eating someone up, is a sign of the utmost love. Most yummy.


  3. Wunnerful review, I say. Maketh me want to go and read it and watch it too.

    Was wondering what your take on Coraline is? Liketh or not-liketh? Or grey area-ish maybe?

    Quaint Murmur

  4. Ms Robinson,
    Sank you, mostest.

    Coraline? I like Coraline. BUT. It didnt give me tingles, and I know I will not commit the the book to my heart and soul. I wouldnt want to house it in my bookshelves. Coraline will never mean as much to me as Darrel Rivers, Pat & Isabel, Anne Shirley, Jo March, Katy Carr and other female characters who are more than people on paper - who after so many years, are friends. Coraline is a beautiful book but she wasnt someone I found easy to give my unconditonal love to.


  5. i had this book as a kid... it was lovely owning it... i remember getting it along with Noddy... the film is beautifully written... i read almost half the screenplay... i knw u'd wonder y wud i read it b4 i watched the film... simply put- curiosity and excitement... ya its all nice n all... but i do feel that the film is a little too litereal for my liking... (atleast on paper - havent watched it yet)... its voicing out Max's character with direct scenes... something which takes away from a 3d viewing... the entire deal about letting a child's monster within out - could have been shown differently... but ya this again is how i perceive the book... and the character... but u must read the screenplay... its a rare1 where the writer takes the courage to write it with description abt what happens 'offscreen' - (inside the character's mind), which is rare... and then Spike Jonze is awesome... i hope u have watched Adaptation... Kaufman + Jonze = madness :)

    - Sahirr


The All of us.

The All of us.