Spike Jonze' version of Where the Wild Things Are
You had to know this was coming, right? After my previous post in which I ran down the ten BEST film adaptations of books originally written for kids and teens, it’s time to venture over to the dark side, and take a look at those unfortunate cases in which moviemakers got it mostly wrong or even ALL wrong in translating kid lit to the big screen.
A big thanks to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.
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Where the Wild Things Are - 2009 Movie
I remember being so excited when the ads and trailers for this movie started coming out. I assumed that it would turn out to be an instant classic. I mean, how can you go wrong when you combine author and illustrator Maurice Sendak with the brilliant indie adorableness that is Spike Jonze? Plus, it even had Tom Hanks as co-producer - a kids' movie with Woody himself producing COULD NOT LOSE!! That's what I thought. But I was wrong, and sadly disappointed. Once you get past how cool it is to see the live action versions of the iconic monsters of Sendak, the movie becomes interminably dull. There's no more plot than the slim book had, only the book lasted 20 heavily illustrated pages while the movie lasts several interminable hours. The movie is also quite dark in a way that the book only hinted at, but could easily terrify many children taken to see the movie. This would have made a great half hour short film, but it should never have been given an $80 million budget and two hours to fill it.
So what do you think? Did I get these right, or are some of these adaptations I say are awful ones that you love? Which truly awful movie adaptations of books for kids and teens did I leave off the list but which deserve a place there? Let’s talk terrible film adaptations of great kids’ books in the comments below.
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