Sunday, July 26, 2009

Short Children's Books into Long Feature Length Films: Where The Wild Things Are

The other night I read my one-year old daughter Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak. This popular and acclaimed story, first published in 1963.

Reading this story took --- it's 10 sentences took...umm, maybe two minutes, especially since she did not find it nearly as interesting as her favorite book.

I remember when I saw the adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!staring Jim Carrey, and remember how disappointed I was, and really felt part of the challenge was that it was an appropriately lengthed children's story made into an inappropriately long feature length film (104 minutes).

(As I side note, I love the 1966 TV version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and think Boris Karloff's narration in this 26 minute version is perfect, and a faithful entertaining adaptation).

When it comes to the film adaption of Where The Wild Things Are, I am hopeful.

Spike Jonze's work particularly in directing Charlie Kaufman penned-scripts (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) has really impressed me, and I think Jonze's music video roots is perfect for the energy, flair, and stylistic importance telling this 10 sentence story.

Of course, this film will surely have more than 10 sentences, and it it's in that interpretation of Maurice Sendak's work that makes me curious. Will they release new versions of the classic book with the updated and more involved story. Maybe, but I doubt it. But the fact is the heart of the story could easily be interpreted, taking away the more subtle pleasure that's in this story.

Maybe I'll try those ten sentences on my baby girl again soon, but in the meantime, if she has a hard time sitting still for ten sentences and pictures of the dancing monsters, I think it'll be awhile before she can handle a feature length telling of this story.


Anonymous said...

I guess I didn't remember Where the While Things Are being only 10 sentences long...

I guess a book like Polar Express gave them a bit more content to make a movie out of.

RC said...

@ ehome --- Polar Express is a boring book and a boring movie. Blah!!

Amy said...

I talked to a guy at Comic-Con who attended this panel and he also was quite impressed with what he saw and what was discussed. I am hopeful.