Where the Wild Things Are

There has been a trend in recent years (thank God) toward kids’ movies that adults will enjoy.  “Where the Wild Things Are” seems to have brought this trend to its ultimate conclusion: a kids’ movie that adults enjoy and kids don’t like.

We saw it last night.  Claudia and I loved it, but Sydney (11) and Ben (16) didn’t.  Rainer (13) said she did, but I’m not sure…

The film is visually beautiful, and they did an incredible job making the creatures—the Wild Things—very faithful to the book.  Maurice Sendak is apparently happy with the movie, and I’m glad to hear it: the movie shares Sendak’s refusal to talk down to kids, or to sugar-coat kids’ internal lives in any way.

There is no Disney happy ending, there is no cookie-cutter moral, and so even though it’s not violent by modern standards, it’s darker and more complex morally than what kids are used to.  It resonated with the novel I’m reading right now, Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, whose subtitle is “Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer,” whose plot centers around an attempt to inculcate subversiveness by introducing children’s literature which has a larger element of the Brothers Grimm than is fashionable at the time.

So even though I said that kids don’t like it, that’s an overstatement, and we all agreed that it generated a lot more discussion than any movie in recent memory.  So my advice would be: drag your kids to see it, you won’t be sorry!

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