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Max

2009-10-19

Amy and I caught Where The Wild Things Are over the weekend and we both enjoyed it for what it was.  As huge fans of the book we were both a little disappointed when certain parts were left out (which seems strange to us given that the book is around eighteen pages or so) but I did like seeing what Jonze did with the material and to see his take.  The art direction is undoubtedly brilliant and the dialogue is so pitch-perfect in mimicking a boy of Max's age that it made me smile throughout and wonder why other films, or even books, cannot pull off the same feat.  Great stuff right there.  My main complaint (and I believe Amy's as well) was that as a stand-alone film, it's wonderful and great food for thought but as an adaptation, it's very "meh".  I felt such strong magic in the trailer and it felt so spot-on to me that I was hoping against hope going in that he had genuinely captured what I saw and felt in the book and that just didn't happen in the final product.  For me, it's impossible to separate the material from the film, try as I might, and that really weakens the final product in my mind.  Again, for someone who may have never read the book they may love the film and it's not that I completey disliked it, far from it, I just came away deflated.

Most people seem very polarized when weighing in either thinking it's a huge accomplishment and the greatest thing ever to thinking it shouldn't have been made in the first place.  In truth I lean a little towards the latter as I feel there are some books that should be left well enough alone as well as some films that have no need of being remade or "rebooted" - which makes me want to strangle any number of people - but not so much so that after seeing the trailer I wasn't swayed. 

I say rent it just to see it, but that's me.

And Beyond

2009-10-19

I'll be seeing Where the Wild Things Are with Ashley, a couple of friends, and about 50 school kids on Sunday - so I'm sure I'll weigh in on that film next week. Two notes about it though:

1. I'm not as big a fan of the book as Mr Blue. I enjoyed the art immensely when I was a kid, but the story didn't move me the way it did a lot of people. So I'm looking forward to seeing how much the movie does for me.

2. Seeing the abbreviated title "Wild Things" in the movie theater this weekend cracked me up.

 

What I DID see this weekend was the double feature of Toy Story 1 & 2 in 3D. Now, let me preface this by saying I am an unabashed Pixar fanboy. I see all of their movies as close to opening weekend as possible, and do so with a giant bucket of popcorn in my lap and a smile on my face. Needless to say, I loved my double feature. They even animated "about your double feature" telling kids at the beginning what an intermission was, and how it was all going to work with their glasses - all using the Toy Story characters. I sat in a theatre with a bunch of kids, many of whom had obviously never seen these before, and just ate up every minute of it.

The movies hold up brilliantly, and the 3D really did take them to a new level. At no point did they feel dated, or even rendered by an old technology. Release either of those films today and people would love them just as much.

And that's really what stayed with me. It's been about 15 years since the first Toy Story was released, and it was the first ever feature-length CG animated film. To say it was groundbreaking is an understatement. But in hindsight, that first CG film could've been something like Shrek.  A movie that a lot of people love, with fast music and pop culture references, and people would've eaten it up. That would have been 'The First.'

But instead, we get Toy Story. A relatively quiet and simple story with jokes that don't age, and characters that feel timeless. And that thought just makes me happy.

I have a mini concern that Toy Story 3 will become overly sentimental, somehow reaching out too far to recreate the magic of the first two. But then I remember it's Pixar, and they haven't let me down yet.