Archive for the ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: President Obama reading Where the Wild Things Are (2009).

A President who is literate!

Apparently my video won’t fit here unless I space this section out better.

I don’t really have anything to say, except that I enjoyed hearing him read this.

And it’s fun to watch the Secret Service pretend to be invisible.

One more line should do the trick.

See the video here.

[READ: August 24, 2011] Wild Things

Okay, so this is a novel.  It is based on Where the Wild Things Are, the film by Spike Jonze and Where the Wild Things Are, the book by Maurice Sendak.  Obviously, Sendak’s book came first.  But, it’s only got about 60 words in it.  So, how do you make a film based on it?  Eggers and Jonze worked together for a long time to craft a screenplay and then (as Egger’s Acknowledgments explain) Jonze more or less took over the film and Eggers went off to write this book.

Hence, the book is fully titled:

The Wild Things: A Novel by Dave Eggers Adapted from the Illustrated Book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak and Based on the Screenplay “Where the Wild Things Are” co-written by D.E. and Spike Jonze

I had read Egger’s except “Max” that was printed in the New Yorker ages ago and I liked it well enough, but it seemed so much like WTWTA, that I wasn’t sure what the point was (I didn’t realize it was an excerpt and, strangely enough, it’s an excerpt from several sections).  And since I had seen the film not too long ago (and honestly was kind of bored by it) I wasn’t really that excited about reading this.

But since I loved Zeitoun and this fur-covered book has been sitting near my bed for a couple of years now, I decided it was time.  And I really enjoyed it.

Well, here’s the thing.  This book is not a novelization of the film.  You notice that right away because the first chapter (which is awesome) is not in the film at all.  In it, Max rides his bike to his neighbor’s house.  His friend is not home but his mother is and when she sees Max all by himself and on his bike without a helmet she freaks out (even though they live about four houses apart).  His reaction and her overreactions are really very funny.

There are scenes from the movie in the book, of course.  It is adapted after all.  Indeed, it is more or less the same as the book, but there are many scenes which Eggers has added that really help to flesh out the story and give depth to everyone involved.  As a matter of fact, Max doesn’t reach the Wild Things’ Island until page 100 (out of 285 pages). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: Soundtrack to “I’m Here” (2010).

This soundtrack comes with the book mentioned above and below.  It is the soundtrack to the film “I’m Here” which also comes with the book mentioned above and below.

I haven’t watched the film yet, so I don’t know how well the music works.  But the book explains how many of these songs came to be in the film.  And the organic nature of the compositions sounds like they are very suitable.

The first track (and “theme” of the movie is by Aska & The Lost Trees.  The Lost Trees are a factious band made up for the film.  Aska wrote the song (and there’s sheet music for it in the book).  She has a second song called “Y.O.U.” later on the soundtrack.  It’s a synthy dreamy song.

Gui Borrato’s “Beautiful Life” is an 8 minute techno song.  It seems like an instrumental, but there are eventually lyrics.  And it is rather catchy.

Then there’s a number of bands who I have heard of but don’t know these songs: Sleigh Bells: “A/B Machines” (which is on their debut Treats–a loudly mixed, increasingly noisier and noisier dance track, which is strangely addictive); Animal Collective: “Did You See The Worlds” (which is on Feels and gets better with each listen); Girls: “Hellhole Ratrace” (which is on their debut Album and which sounds like a distortion-free Jesus and Mary Chain) and Of Montreal who remixed “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” from Hissing Fauna… so that The Lost Trees could “cover” it in the film.  I don’t know the original but this has punky abandon and distortion and rocks pretty hard.

The final two tracks are by Sam Spiegel: “Lonesome Robot Theme” and “There Are Many of Us (Electric Dream Reprise).”  They are both slow keyboard washes–delicate songs that close the disc nicely.

It’s an enjoyable soundtrack, a little heavy on the electronics–which makes sense for a movie  about robots, right?

[READ: September 2, 2010] There Are Many of Us

[UPDATE: September 6, 2010] Just watched the film….  Reading the book first will definitely lessen the emotional impact of the film.  So, be sure to watch the DVD, then read the  book.

This book came the other day in the mail as part of my McSweeney’s Book Club.  It’s funny to get a book that is a companion piece to a film you’ve never heard of and which you will likely never see.  And that’s why it’s great that the book includes the film on DVD!  (Along with several bonus features).

I really enjoy short films. And that’s why I like the Wholphin Series as well as the DVDs of Academy Award winning shorts.  I only wish there was more access to them.   I mean, frankly, where would I ever be able to see this film but here?

As I write this I haven’t had the chance to watch the film, so maybe it’s awful.  But I have liked everything that Spike Jonze has done, so I don’t expect to be disappointed.

The stills in the book are fantastic, and the robots look incredibly lifelike.  I’m not sure if it’s better to read the book or watch the film first.  The book doesn’t really give much away about the story (except that it says that the film is inspired by The Giving Tree).  And whether or not I should have watched the film first, the book has me really excited to watch the film soon. (more…)

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wild thingsSOUNDTRACK: FANTÔMAS-Suspended Animation (2005).

fantomasIf you know Fantômas, then you know what you’re in for.  If you don’t, well, it’s a surprise!

Fantômas are the brain child of Mike Patton (Mr Bungle-era more than Faith No More with help from Buzz Osborne from The Melvins and Dave Lombardo from Slayer).  Suspended Animation is designed as a soundtrack to April, 2005.  There are thirty tracks, and each one corresponds to a calendar page.  The limited edition (which is apparently still in print as I got one last month) is a calendar with art by Yoshitomo Nara.  Nara’s work combines cuteness and menace, just like the CD.

A piece by Nara

A piece by Nara

Although, really the CD is more menace than cute.

This disc seems to combine Patton’s favorite things: cartoon music (many ‘toons are sampled here), death metal, short sharp blasts of noise and his fascinating vocal deliveries.

This write-up makes the disc sound very intriguing, but before you rush out to check it out, do know what you’re in for: short, noisy blasts of utter chaos.  It is not for the weak of heart or the queasy of stomach (or for the lover of melody).  It’s not even a case of , oh the songs are short, the next one will come along soon.  While there is diversity, it’s diverse within it’s own little world.  Of noise!

Be afraid.  But if you’re still interested after that caveat, then by all means check it out, if only for the calendar!

[READ: August 23, 2009] Where the Wild Things Are/”Max at Sea”

Because of Dave Egger’s story “Max at Sea” (which is basically a retelling of Where the Wild Things Are I felt I needed to re-read the original.  So thank you Dave Eggers for that.

The original is a fun story which seems to be more visually based than word based.  The drawings are sublime and indeed there are several pgaes with no words at all.  And, so, the filmmakers’ question remains: how to you make a film out of a 48-page book, many of which don’t even have words?  Stills from the movie do look pretty awesome.

And thus, Dave Eggers’ story was born.

I’m not actually going to reveiw Where the Wild Things Are, because, well, it’s a classic, and it’s  awesome.  What more can I say about it?  But I did want to reevaluate Egger’s piece having re-read Sendak’s.

It is quite clear that Eggers is in no way trying to re-write the story.  He has fleshed out a lot of details that are absent from the original (which the original in now way needs, but again, if you’re going to make a film, you need some kind of backstory). (more…)

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