The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Why the new 'Wild Things' trailer works

March 25, 2009 |  4:15 pm

Can a captivating pop song single-handedly reinvent impressions of an upcoming movie?

Warners just put up a new trailer for Spike Jonze's upcoming version of "Where the Wild Things Are," which up until now was a film viewed as an impending disaster, having been repeatedly yanked from the studio's release schedule and tarnished by incessant stories about bad test screenings, reshoots and all sorts of other problems.

Jonze's film may still turn out to be a failed experiment -- perhaps it was a bad idea to put a beloved children's book classic in the hands of an amazingly gifted but oddball auteur. But for now, judging from the world's largest focus group -- the sprawling collection of people who watch video on the Web -- the troubled project has turned a corner, with the new trailer largely earning raves on every website I've visited in the past hour. The primary reason? Instead of trying to tell a story, the trailer simply offers up a healthy dose of magical realism, marrying a host of fairy-tale style images of a young boy and various big, furry creatures to the lovely, evocative purr of Arcade Fire's "Wake Up."

There's no dialogue, no narration, no story to tell, simply a burst of warm 'n' fuzzy emotion, reminding us of the sense of childlike wonder that propelled Maurice Sendak's story in the first place. It's a telling example of the power that music has to shape (and yes, manipulate) the subconscious reaction to what we see on screen. But here -- watch for yourself. Tell me what you think:

RELATED:

Can Spike Jonze save 'Where the Wild Things Are'?

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