So I'm just going to stop waiting for Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers' version of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, and try to forget it ever existed--and then, maybe, when it does come out in 2054, after having switched directors, and after having been entirely recast, and after getting 90 percent reshot, well, then, maybe I'll go see it at that point.
A few days ago, The Los Angeles Times got the depressing lowdown on the current state of the film, which was originally scheduled to come out this year--and then got pushed back to the fall of 2009, and now has been wiped off of the release schedule completely. "The script got good early reviews," Patrick Goldstein writes on the LA Times' blog, "But for months the web has been pulsing with rumors and in-depth accounts that when Jonze had a research screening last December, kids in the audience were crying and fleeing the theater--not exactly the reaction the studio had hoped for." And in addition to, you know, making kids cry, it sounds like there've been other issues, too:
The boy, played by newcomer Max Records, is almost entirely unlikable, coming off as more mean-spirited and bratty than mischievous. Jonze has also had tons of issues with the wild things. Originally shot as actors in furry creature suits with animated faces, as well as animatronic puppets, they were a big disappointment. Instead of being scary or funny, they almost seemed blank, with little warmth or emotion. Jonze is now retooling the film, using CGI to create more life-like monsters.
Goldstein got on the phone with Alan Horn, the president of Warner Bros. Entertainment, who explained/spun the current state of things.
"We've given [Jonze] more money and, even more importantly, more time for him to work on the film," Horn said. "We'd like to find a common ground that represents Spike's vision but still offers a film that really delivers for a broad-based audience. We obviously still have a challenge on our hands. But I wouldn't call it a problem, simply a challenge. No one wants to turn this into a bland, sanitized studio movie. This is a very special piece of material and we're just trying to get it right."
"We try to take a few shots," he said. "Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. The jury is still out on this one. But we remain confident that Spike is going to figure things out and at the end of the day we'll have an artistically compelling movie."
All of that is so goddamn worrisome and so goddamn intriguing. I want to see this movie really bad, and I want to see it in whatever state it's in now--with the people in giant wild thing suits, with animatronic monster faces, with the stuff that made kids cry. Seeing as how that option is looking less and less likely, I guess I'll settle for whatever version Warner Bros. ends up putting out. Here's hoping that on opening day I'll still be in good enough shape to hop on the trusty hoverboard to meet my grandkids at San Angeles' finest holo-IMAX theater.
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