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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Column: Where ARE the wild things?

So after months of anticipation (okay, maybe days) and hours of mental preparation (all right, probably not), I finally made my way over to the Regal Davis Holiday 6 to watch the long awaited (fine, I’ll stop lying) movie Where The Wild Things Are.

Before you judge me, know this: I did actually enjoy the book as a child. There were about two-and-a-half words to a page, and immaculate, detailed illustrations. What could I have possibly disliked? I was not the one at the theater sitting front row in a onesie with cat ears and a crown, but don’t underestimate my enthusiasm. I was stoked.

However, 10 minutes into the film, I became slightly confused. I guess as a child I could not read into the darker, dysfunctional undertones of the storyline. My book must have been missing the page where it explained Max didn’t have a father in the picture. If I was a bastard child, I would probably throw wild rumpuses and wear a cat suit, too. I would most likely threaten to eat my mother up as well for being so irresponsible.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. But for the large majority of you that have, you could probably understand why the book’s plot had to be adjusted for the film. The primary reason being that the book had no plot to begin with. The second being a 24-page book is usually unable to generate a 90-minute movie.

Well, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, basically this kid Max didn’t eat his dinner and was sent to his room. He imagined all kinds of crazy stuff like himself on an island ruled by wild things. Aaand that’s the next thing that bugged me. The book is called Where The Wild Things Are. While the movie clarified that Max had daddy issues (and maybe psychological ones), it failed to answer the one question the story actually generates: Where are the wild things? Wouldn’t the title lead you to believe we would find out eventually?

Like me, you are sadly mistaken. While I would like to believe that the wild things reside in the Arboretum after nightfall, I’m probably wrong. I don’t think they’d fancy hanging out where duck molestation occurs on a daily basis, and water reeks half the time. Then again, who am I to say what wild things do or do not enjoy?

Getting back to my point, we never learn where the wild things are. Which besides being irritating also makes me cautious of every densely-wooded area located by a body of water. NO PLACE CAN BE ELIMINATED! They could be anywhere …

Anyway, as the movie proceeded, we became introduced to the wild things and their individual personalities. And, of course, Max could relate his feelings of abandonment and loneliness to this huge, hairy beast named Carol. How convenient for the two of them, right? It was kind of cute so I’ll let that part slide.

What I really didn’t enjoy was the romantic relationship between wild things Ira and Judith. In fact, I was royally creeped out by it. It’s one thing to have fictional beasts be in love. It’s another thing to have fictional beast PDA. I already hate having to see couples going at it on the Quad grass (don’t pretend you haven’t seen them), but watching a hairy monster suck on the neck of another hairy monster is probably worse. Although, I have seen a few “Quad couples” that could potentially qualify as hairy monsters … well, that’s another column altogether. Bottom line, folks, wild thing PDA should never be okay under any circumstances.

I guess now I must admit my personal opinion of this movie might not be the most informed one. I say this because I have absolutely no idea how the movie ended. I left 15 minutes before it was over, because in all honesty, I wanted to go to the bars. But perhaps this fact alone indicates how awesome I thought the film was.

So if you are into slightly depressing stories involving big hairy beasts and monster PDA, you should totally see this movie. If that’s not for you, you can always evacuate to Little Prague like I did.

AMANDA HARDWICK would like to know where the wild things aren’t. If you know, please e-mail her at aghardwick@ucdavis.edu.


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