If Spike Jonze makes another damn film about someone with an imagination (overactive or not) feeling like an outcast, I’m boycotting his work. Ok, I’ll make an exception if Catherine Keener, John Cusack and/or Mark Ruffalo are involved – but otherwise, I’m out. Seriously, Being John Malkovich — okay I was wooed. It was pretty original and amazing and unexpected and modernly classic in its filmmaking – deserving of its three Oscar nods.
Adaptation was an acceptable sophomoric effort. An indelible scene with the car accident, but otherwise seemingly uninspired. Films about writers are always easily panned when they’re lacking in darkness though, so I understood where Jonze was trying to go, but the Coens and other filmmakers had already succeeded in this type of story before. I’m Here*, a short film about robots made basically as a liquor company commercial and yet premiering at Sundance (all seems very hypocritical, no?), was wonderfully conceptual as a vision. Again Jonze wowed me with the modernly classic style of the film – but the story concept itself (even down to the idea of robots having human feelings) has all been run through before.
So, needless to say, I was disappointed to watch Where The Wild Things Are and find it to be the same damn shit, just a younger protagonist. Once more, Jonze seems to want to rely on the visual conceptual concept (something he no doubt picked up and got hooked on through the music video craft) instead of the actual art of directing a unique vision (as he accomplished in Malkovich). Music videos generally survive on a great, simple but unexpected or original concept with which a story is built around. So yeah, big, fuzzy, Björk-esque, rejected team mascots holing up on an island is great if your watching a Decemberists video or something, but dropping $9.50 and giving up your Friday night? No thanks.
Don’t get me wrong, I get what it’s trying to say and all, growing up is hard. Especially when you’re an attention obsessed little kid who feels like he has to please everybody just in order for them to pay attention to him. The major, life-altering realization for him, of course, is that even his big, fuzzy playmates have expectations of him and secret, selfish human traits. Grow up fast kid! Even in your dream world, not everything will go down as you like it! You can’t please everyone! Not even a harmless moviegoer such as myself. Howl at that.
*Incidentally, you can watch I’m Here in its entirety here. Consider the above my review of it.