Blast From the Past: Where the Wild Things Are and AstroBoy

I took my son to the movies today to see Ice Age 3.  While the movie was nothing to rave about, the trailers preceeding the movie were a different thing.

Maurice Sendak’s classic book about Max and monsters was a favourite of mine.  I remember being read it, as one of those huge books, in the library when I was about seven. I was fascinated by the monsters. And the rhythm of the text when Max sails away. And the transformation of his room.

Not surprisingly it was one of the first bought for Dylan – before he was even born, by his Godmother Meredith (also a huge fan of the book) along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar (though I’m pretty sure that story will never cross over into film.)

When we started reading Where the Wild Things Are to Dylan, my partner and I used to joke that in this day and age Max would be given Ritalin to curb his ADHD and then given time out. Or perhaps be diagnosed with Anti Social Personality Disorder – and again medicated. Such is our society’s low tolerance for adventurous behaviour and over reliance on pigeon holing “aberrant behaviour” with fancy names.

Due for release 3rd December in Australian cinemas, Where the Wild Things Are is directed by Spike Jonze, famous for his music videos. The screen play was penned by David Eggers in close collaboration with Maurice Sendak. Due for release last year, test screening apparently had kids running crying from the cinema. When you’re spending more than $80 million you want to make sure your audience can stay in their seats for the duration of the movie.

I have to admit I can’t wait to see it. It looks visually spectacular. Described as “haunting” you get that very feeling from watching the trailer – or at least I do. I was stoked to see the wolf suit Max is wearing in the film and carrying the fork in one hand – just like the book. My partner ever the cynic can’t help but wonder HOW you make a 14 page kids books into a full length feature film.  I guess we’ll just have to wait a see.

I did have a curious moment while watching the trailer. Seeing the boat being tossed about on the ocean I had a HR PuffenStuff flash back and expected Jimmy to come prancing off the boat with the Magic Golden Flute. Yes – I think I can safely say I was scarred and carrying something of a HR PuffenStuff legacy.

And if one childhood flashback wasn’t enough in one ten minute session of previews, there was another …

AstroBoy was one of my all time favourite TV shows as a kid (along with other anime classics G Force and Ulysese) all staples of ABC afternoon TV back in the early 80’s. I’m not sure about this “modern” version though. The computer generated animation looks too slick – it seems to me to miss something in the translation from hand drawn to computer created. Or maybe I’m just old?  While Dylan was ecstatic to see it was coming to the movies – I’m less keen.  Some nostalgia trips are best never taken – and I fear AstroBoy in it’s 2.0 guise, looks like one.

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