Taking on childhood storybook gold, Spike Jonze is getting to do what every modern director wants to. At least any with that childish sense of adventure and fun still inside them; something tells me Tarantino wouldn’t want this project.
Watching the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, it’s hard not to feel that same giddy pleasure you did as a little kid. Staying true to the book, the costume design is surprisingly similar to that of the artwork, and allows the photography to provide a sentimental and still professional feel.
Jonze is capitalizing on a popular concept within the modern movie industry; this almost postmodern likeness for things like books for children and making them bigger stories of humanism. It’s like a industry-wide movement rejecting the practices of big-budget, money making movies like Fast and Furious.
The film world has seen an increase in these types of movies, from the power of the indie movement to the noticeable difference in tone of the industry, allowing for gaining popularity of movies that mean more than just being a blockbuster. And it’s this sort of simplicity that has come about, through directors like Michael Gondry and Wes Anderson with their quirky and seemingly stylized realities that contrast sharply the big-budget feel.
In fact, the style of filmmaking that practically serves as the anti-Hollywood American film industry has turned into a concept being utilized by none other than the big-name studios, allowing for subsidiary companies like Warner Independent and even Focus Features, which is owned by NBC.
So Jonze’s new project is essentially the epitome of this concept, taking the beloved childrens’ bedtime story and turning it into a feature. And with a B-side Arcade Fire single to give it an extra punch, Jonze has whet the appetite of indie fans all over the Internet.
So there are certain ways to pull a thing like this off. First, reject the cliche premises. A movie based on a bedtime story is the perfect example of this. Second, get the backing of a powerful studio with an independent feel. Enter Warner Independent. Third, get big names to be involved, preferably people who are known for big-budget movies. The out of place actor will always attract attention.
With actors like Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini and Forest Whitaker, Where the Wild Things Are is promising to be a knock out success. People like to see Tony Soprano in a movie like this.
And who wouldn’t want to do it? Jack Black should be kicking himself for not getting on this one. This alternative-type film can only help an image, at least if it is as welcomed as this is.
Boasting ideas of hope, fear, love, and adventure throughout the trailer, Jonze shows off the film’s ability to attract both children and adults alike, applying concepts that engage the human race as a whole. And this is where these movies are effective–it’s often this idea of paradoxical unification, this seeming oxymoron of ideas that shouldn’t work. But it does, and it’s a beautiful thing.
And on October 16, we’ll find out if it was pulled off or not.
So, Mr. Spike Jonze, you’ve got indie-lover gold at your fingertips and the sky’s the limit with this one.