Friday 4 December 2009

When I was king, I was a truly great king

From director Spike Jonze, the man responsible for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, comes his latest film, Where the Wild Things Are. Since I liked both those earlier films I have high hopes for this latest effort, indeed I’m counting on it to restore an eroded sense of wonder, if only a little.

It’s not that I haven’t seen any fulfilling films this year. I found the Danish film After the Wedding intensely moving; I saw it twice and cried both times, though that probably says as much about me as it does the film. I remember once watching The Elephant Man with my daughter and having to work hard at preventing her from seeing any tears; I’m not sure whether I was successful or whether I needed to be. Probably. I'll have to look into that.

Where The Wild Things Are
But this film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s famous book promises something else. That sense of awe I felt as a child on returning from a voyage with Doctor Dolittle, the scene in Joe Versus the Volcano where Joe looks to the outsized moon and thanks God for his recaptured humanity, or the opening scene in Toys to lift my forgotten spirit and remind me of the glory of Christmas. Interesting that those two films are disliked intensely by a number of my friends and dismissed as mawkish sentimentality, though sometimes it seems any sentiment is regarded unfavourably.

Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect so much but I stubbornly refuse to let that dent my enthusiasm; every so often we need to be reminded that the world can be beautiful. Will this new film suffice?


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