The film version of the classic children's book Where The Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak has reportedly run into big trouble. CHUD reported
that Warner Bros is so unhappy with director Spike Jonzes' footage that the entire film may be reshot. In fact at a test screening children were crying
and running from the theater: not exactly the reaction Warner Bros was hoping for.
So, what's the problem? For one thing, the lead is apparently quite unlikeable. Dave Eggers' screenplay has been described as subversive, dark and frightening, none of which are things that lead to box office gold for children's movies. There are also major special effects problems. Oscar-winning special effects wizard Howard Berger told
Sci Fi Wire that he turned down the chance to do the film because he knew it was going to be a problem the way Jonze wanted to film it. In Jonze's version, the film uses computer-generated animation and animatronics, with some of the characters in giant suits made of foam, which sounds just awful. And apparently, it is just awful.
In his bio--and speaking backstage after winning an Oscar for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe--Berger said that his fascination with special effects started with his mother, a teacher, as she read him Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. "That's what started this for me," Berger said.
So was he disappointed not to work on the film version of his favorite book? "No, I'm not," Berger said with a laugh. "We were approached four times, and we turned it down four times. [We turned it down] because I'm in love with it so much. I respect it too much. What is happening is what I thought would happen."
Whether those reports are true or not, Berger said: "The direction that they were taking in the movie was certainly not the direction that I would have taken. It was potentially a catastrophe. I had a sinking feeling about it. I didn't want to get myself in it. It's a horrible idea."
Berger and his partner, Greg Nicotero of KNB EFX Group, in Van Nuys, Calif., met with Jonze, who is helming the movie for Warner Brothers. Berger worked on Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, Land of the Dead and Transformers, as well as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which comes out on DVD on Dec. 2.
"Even when I heard about it I thought, 'I don't want to do it,'" Berger said. "Greg and I met with Spike Jonze a couple of times, and they kept asking us if would we do it."
Well, that certainly sounds ominous. When Howard Berger says not to do the special effects a certain way, it's probably a good idea to listen to him. We loved Where the Wild Things Are
. The thought of a version that makes children run screaming from the theater is quite off-putting, to say the least.