27 March, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

I wasn't even aware of it until I saw a post on The Awesomer, but there's a live action movie being made of Maurice Sendak's popular children's book "Where The Wild Things Are".

I'm aware of a couple of previous attempts to create an animated version of this beloved book (one by Disney and John Lasseter), but nothing ever came of them. I also remember that Sendak wrote the libretto for an opera (premiered in 1980) composed by Scottish composer Oliver Knussen based on the book. According to Wikipedia, there was also a ballet and a musical.

Obviously Sendak's story and illustrations make for stimulating artistic inspiration. But the illustrations are so imaginative and fantastic that it's kind of hard to imagine them translated into "live action". I imagine that's why Disney considered an animated version. I seem to recall that in addition to the libretto, Knussen's opera also had set & costume design overseen by Sendak in an effort to ensure their faithfulness to his original vision. I do recall seeing the sets and some of the costumes and thinking that a reasonably good job was done there.

Upon hearing that a live-action film was in the works, I was hopeful that, whether or not Sendak was involved (he's in his 80's now), the producers and director (Spike Jonze) would pay careful attention to ensuring that the design kept pace with the original. The trailer posted at Apple certainly looks promising. Although the "sets" are actual locations, the costuming looks marvelous and a particularly good rendition of Sendak's drawings. I think I'm looking forward to the October 2009 release.

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