Posted by: David Stewart | October 26, 2009

On being truly Wild (“Where the Wild Things Are”)

Anyone who knows me personally will attest that I am not particularly wild.

Big admission there – and it’s hard to accept. After all, every guy probably wants to think of themselves as “wild at heart” and untamable.

But I have found it too difficult to be responsible and loving when I let my passions run wild. I like the quote by Robert Bloch: “I have the heart of a child. I keep it in a jar on my shelf.” But the wild thing inside me likes to break out periodically.

Parents of rambunctious little kids can come to the end of their ropes and call their child a name, like “wild thing” and it may fit. I think it’s a mistake to call a child “stupid” or “lazy” or “wild” because it stings, and they may start believing it too. It’s basically a mistake of lazy parenting.

The recent movie “Where the Wild Things Are” explores this country of incivility, covering the same ground as the 1963 Maurice Sendak book and extending it greatly. Whereas in the book, Max seems rather smug and self-satisfied with his mastery over the Wild Things; there seems to be real regret, remorse and even fear in young Max Records’ face as he realizes the consequences of his wildness played out in large.

This is not to suggest that this is a “message movie”, unless as Deb remarked it teaches you that if you run away from home you get chocolate cake for dinner.  But there are analogies and parallels in the movie that I can’t get out of my head.

I’m convinced that it’s a truly cool bit of movie making. The story is rife with parallels that play out between the real world and the fantasy world, the visuals are amazing, particularly of a model city built by one of the Wild Things and an incredible fort built during the course of the movie. It’s a piece of art, and will be long remembered as a great movie.

And who knows – maybe I can live to be a little more wild too.



  1. Oh I really like that Bloch quote! Must remember it for later… Btw, have you see Sendak’s page on Infloox? I think you’d enjoy it (talks about his extremely varied literary influences) especially since you’ve written such a thoughtful post about his work here…

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