Where the Wild Things Are, Directed by Spike Jonze
Warner Bros., October 16, 2009 (US)
Screenplay: Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers, based on the children’s book by Maurice Sendak
Starring: Max Records and Catherine Keener
“Where you’ll find me, where you’ll find
All is love, is love, is love, is love”
-from the Karen O and the Kids song, “All Is Love”
We leave the theater of little kings and wild giants, magic sands, and forests so abundant with trees it makes the crazed wild things in a reflex of rage want to shoot bullets to the taunting gut of life by punching holes through each and every last tree trunk.
We turn west on Webster, of course talking about it all, still in the world of the creatures with the wide revealing eyes.
Translated: We didn’t notice the detour sign or water main break directly up ahead.
It happened so fast, faster than a cliché’s predictable little entrance. We were sliding down a tube as if riding the fastest water slide we had ever hoped to conquer, twisting and turning in a giddy, terrifying rush. We descended, turning back the clock of time—nostalgia triggering a misty freeze-frame moment when tiny knives of ice lacerated our faces before the obliterated remains of snowball slush oozed from our raw rosy cheeks, down to the ground.
We were shot out at the bottom of the slide at last, splashing into a vat of sewage surrounded by aluminum shores and black tunnels. We wandered into the darkness with a sixth sense that seeded the the belief that things were somehow better up ahead. And so we moved.
The image we saw was a mighty fortress, epic in scope and legendary in design, certainly strong enough to withstand the rage of a thousand armies. Wide open country and mountains of the oldest trees imaginable connected us to our ancestors. This was the place where our wild heart had always yearned to find.
And then reality: back in the sewer. The emergence of voices was followed in short order by the first flicker of light pulsating orange and black against the dirty domed silver roof of the reflecting underworld. As we got closer to the source, we could see that the voices were coming from the direction of cockroaches. Their words were echoing off the sewer wall’s perfect acoustics-in-the-round. In sync with the rhythm of their own chirping voices, the roaches were crawling all over each other in a mad choreographed dance, muttering strange and nasty and even ordinary things like, “Move it,” “Watch out,” and, “That was one crazy.”
Roaches talking: it was another reminder of the distance we had traveled along the strange journey into maturation, whereupon filters would soon trap our wild imagination in prisons of responsibility.
But ever since finding yourself in that place of heavenly light many years ago, all bets were off. It was a place where mountains and rivers sang all the day through, trees whistling right along too. It was a place where millions of tiny species played perfect hosts, sharing their world with a stranger as per the sacred vows of the soil’s undertow. In comparison to the vast expanse that enveloped it, the surface of the earth was a place of silent voices and subtle symmetry, where music was in every moment and every movement gave birth during each pulsating second to new wavelengths of power that rose into existence from mere dirt on the side of a mountain. It was limitless energy, miles and miles above a sea level society that had long ago slipped into the valley of conscious thought.
Entering from a Rocky Mountain trail up Deer Mountain, the spirits of the elevation slashed through layers of soot that had seeped into your being and stuck to your dying walls. But here, the higher you climbed, the less of it you carried, and soon you were reborn into a naked body stretched out alone, content in the perfect hideaway on top of the world. A soft whistle ascended the steps of a pretty little scale. The mood was undeniable bliss. On the side of a mountain, you were a king surrounded in his empire that was created by gods.
Carol (James Gandolfini, voice): I want you to be king forever.
Max (Max Records): Definitely.
That there were hungry bears and other wild things in the vicinity was not even a fear. The moment belonged only to the trance that was now perfectly secure, locked in the unimaginable vistas.
At the top of another mountain, there was an Emerald Lake. It was still there now, even if the pages of a book were closed upon a dresser after the lights had all gone out. As you laid in bed contemplating the wonder of it all, a vision reappeared: the plans for a new fort, bigger than all the other forts combined.
This amazing new fort would be indestructible and we would all be back together again, protected within forever.