Critics keep taking the lazy way out when reviewing “Where the Wild Things Are”, the Spike Jonze movie opening today. They insist—with an it-goes-without-saying tone—that the book cannot be literally translated into a movie because the text is only ten sentences long.
Did any of these coasters notice that there is more to the book than the text?
It’s loaded with gorgeous illustrations full of action and detail. The pictures are the attraction of the book. It isn’t one of the most treasured books of the last 50 years because nine-year-olds think Maurice Sendak has an apt way with words.
Pictures are visual. Movies are visual. Any filmmaker ought to be able to get a good five or ten minutes out of any of the pictures in that book. The text is, maybe not irrelevant, but beside the point.
That might be why film critics are not filmmakers. A lot of what they say is both irrelevant AND beside the point.