9 Dec 2009

Our Victorian Wild Things

I'd pretty much decided that I wouldn't take Jemimah to see Spike Jonze’s movie adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. The film looks much darker than Sendak's iconic book, and I wondered whether it might be a bit scary. I also have reservations about the scene in the trailer with mum's new boyfriend, but that's a different matter...

Anyhow, today I learn that maybe those Wild Things are closer than I originally thought...

...I am probably the only one of you who didn't already know this, but apparently the movie was filmed in Victoria! Max's middle American house is actually in Melbourne; the sand dunes are in Portland; the mountains are Mt Arapiles near Horsham, and the forest looks just like it could be in the Dandenongs, though I could be wrong there. Then there's that Aussie beach...

Now that I know that the film is Australian, it is quite obvious - look at those gum trees above Max's head; the leaves on the ground! Way too cool!

So what to do? I've had so much fun this morning playing and replaying the trailer that I am now desperate to see the whole film. Should I take Jemimah though? What do you think? Are you going to take your kids to see Victoria's Wild Things or not? If you're in America, have you already seen the film? Have your kids? Do give me your opinion.

Either way, have a look at the trailer and see what parts of Australia you can see in it. It's fun.

On a related note, Russell Boyd, Location Manager for Wild Things, in an interview with Lindy Burns on ABC Melbourne Radio last week, said this:
Maurice Sendak always maintains that he wrote a book about children; not a book for children to read.
Do you think that Sendak's original book was ever thought of as a book for adults, not kids? Who loved the book more in your family - you or your children? Do you think Spike Jonze is right to follow this philosophy through into his film adaptation of a book beloved by so many...um...er...little adults, or do you, as I do, feel that regardless of his intended audience, Maurice Sendak wrote a classic children's book and that therefore a significant percentage, if not the majority, of the people, who go to see Jonzes' film will be children.

There is a book of the film, called The Wild Things by Dave Eggers. It is certainly not being promoted as a children's book, although I notice that Borders include it in their Young Adult section. This is what the publishers had to say about it:
The Wild Things is about the confusions of a boy, Max, making his way in a world he can’t control. His father is gone, his mother is spending time with a younger boyfriend, his sister is becoming a teenager and no longer has interest in him. At the same time, Max finds himself capable of startling acts of wildness: he wears a wolf suit, bites his mom, and can’t always control his outbursts. During a fight at home, Max flees and runs away into the woods. He finds a boat there, jumps in, and ends up on the open sea, destination unknown. He lands on the island of the Wild Things, and soon he becomes their king. But things get complicated when Max realizes that the Wild Things want as much from him as he wants from them. Funny, dark, and alive, The Wild Things is a timeless and time-tested tale for all ages.

Hmmm, the publishers might say it is a time-tested tale for all ages, but this does not sound like the classic children's tale to me.

I'm going now before I get too controversial.

Oh! There is one part of the film that I do like unreservedly - Karen O and The Kids singing Where is Love.

This is a great song - Enjoy!


  1. I have not seen it, but pretty much decided to pass on it after reading the following review:


    I would love to see the landscape of Victoria, though... what to do?!

  2. Sue, skip the film and come visit us!! There - solved your problem in a flash!

  3. Will definitely watch it on my own first.

    We are huge fans of Maurice Sendak and sometimes hesitate to learn too much about an author's intentions and see it just as it is for me. Some of my favorite books were practically ruined by my university classes.

  4. Ditz & Liddy were dissapointed in this. They reckon the trailer is better than the movie. Lots better.

  5. Ah, but were they playing spot the Victorian landmarks? That's what I want to do :)


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