Where The Wild Things Are: The Wild Rumpus Edition
Intercutting between the real and the wild world, the Wild Rumpus edition takes us inside the mind of Max as he tries to understand the complexities of the world around him in the only way he knows how…
In the film itself, Max was a precocious little boy, sometimes pretty annoying – pretty much the same as the boy in the story. But to me that first trailer promised so much more – a story of a sad, lonely quiet boy, and his imaginative escape to the only place he feels able to cope with life – The world of the Wild Things.
In addition to replacing the soundtrack and trying to match the tone of the first trailer, the movie has also been trimmed down to the essentials – the story of Max. This is a non-linear take on the story, allowing us to directly contrast Max’s experiences in the real world with his imaginitive escape to the world of the wild things.
I hope you enjoy it.
Special thanks to those who reviewed a workprint and gave great feedback, including L8wrtr, Neglify and Geminigod.
Extra special thanks to Quickcut, for taking the time to design fantastic DVD and Bluray cover art designs, including multiple drafts.
- NTSC DVD-5
- AVCHD (DVD-9)
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
- Film Commentary
- Deleted Scenes with Visual Commentary
- Original Trailer
- Fanedit Trailers
- Soundtrack Music Videos
- Storybook Edit
(AVCHD release features film and commentary only)
- Wake Up
- We used to Wait
- Creature Fear
- #1 Vaka
- Acts of Man
- Way to Blue
- Ragged Wood
- Sun it Rises
- Helplessness Blues
- Re-sequenced entire film, cutting back and forth between real and wild world to directly contrast what max is experiencing.
- Replaced almost the entire soundtrack.
- Cut max’s journey to the wild things by boat. First cut to the wild world sees max already in stormy seas arriving at the island.
- Stripped back dialogue between wild things when Max first sees them. Dialogue has been simplified wherever possible.
- Cut all bad behaviour/anger by max in early stages of the film. Have kept him quiet/sad, hopefully increasing our sympathy for him.
- Cut Max calling to his sister to play with him. again, tried to keep him a loner, struggling to know how to connect with people.
- Cut much of the original soundtrack (mostly replaced by new indie-rock songs)
- Trimmed dialogue between max and wild things before he becomes king
- Cut KW’s introduction. INstead, we meet her when Max does, at the bottom of the wild thing pile.
- Turned walk with Carol through the woods into a dream sequence.
- Removed tinkly piano from ‘did you know the sun was going to die” scene, and added wind foley to make the scene more desolate.
- Removed Dog. Didn’t want a joke at the end of the sun dying scene. wanted to keep the tone serious.
- Simplified dialogue in dave/model scene
- Removed soundtrack and added new foley to max lieing in bed thinking scene.
- Removed max telling mum a story. again, kept him quiet and sad as much as possible.
- Removed wild things building fort scenes. Max can just imagine that the fort is already built.
- Reversed shot of Max looking at Carol to better match transition from real world
- Cut max being mean to Judith. Makes her more threatening and him more sympathetic.
- Cut KW introducing Max to Bob and Terry as a ‘biter’
- Cut knock knock joke between bob, terry and alexander. Better not to know if they can actually speak/understand English.
- Trimmed Carol’s reaction to bob and terry
- Removed “everyone’s mad at me” line from Carol on the beachside.
- Removed Max giving instructions about the war to the wild things. Cut straight to action instead.
- Cut pause during war where Judith and Ira hide behind a log. Kept things moving for pacing reasons.
- Cut Max stepping on KW and KW saying she is leaving. Needed to be removed to help aid the fluidity of the transition back to the real world.
- Cut strange expression on Max’s face in the Kitchen.
- Trimmed running away from home footage.
- Cut Carol’s reference to KW having run away and Max needing to get her back.
- Added foley (forest, waves) during Nick Drake song.
- Added scene of Max and Spike Jonez, as a short flashback (father and son)
- Added foley (due to audio replacement) during KW and Max’s last conversation.
- Extended footage of journey home by boat, using deleted footage from earlier in the film.
- Completely new ending, showing reveal of the ‘actual’ wild things, and implying that Max is headed back to the Wild Things again afterall.
I had to add my dissenting opinion to the otherwise glowing reviews here. There may be some people who will find it helpful or informative.
What NJVC has done here is technically very impressive. His edits are not simply "seamless", they are artful. Audio crossover fades keep things moving and provide a sense of continuity between scenes which otherwise might be lacking. The song choices are inspired and do SO MUCH to increase the enjoyment of the film. There is a lot to appreciate in this edit.
The areas I feel differently than the other reviews basically fall into two categories.
This film is based on one of my favorite books as a kid, and I love the framework of that adventure. A boy goes off on a scary adventure where he 'out-wilds' the wild things and becomes their king before going back home. There's a sense of a grand journey that builds in scale. I feel a lot of that is lost with the restructuring of the scenes and the cutting back and forth in time.
The original film did a great thing when it framed Max's wildness as A) acting out due to the family breaking down and B) a selfish problem to be outgrown. This allows the film to not only be an adventure, but to also be a tale of heartbreak and redemption, where you see Max unable to take his new family situation and run away, then it becomes a coming-of-age story where he comes to terms with the fallibility of adults and the idea that there "is no such thing as a perfect king". He learns to think of others, stop expecting so much, and value teamwork and building something long-term.
For me, the structure of the new narrative does a great disservice to the themes of the story. The pacing is totally thrown off, with Max just suddenly being on an adventure but without the sense of danger and desperation and angst he originally brought to it (which is reflected in the Wild Things, like all his feelings). Then the constant flashbacks in the middle of the film are so on-the-nose paralleled to their real-world components, it doesn't feel like Max has run away from his problems, it feels like he is playing in his own world, consistently imagining monsters and adventures while at home. The ending is the worst of all. It undoes the mother's forgiveness and understanding, and changes the film from Max growing and learning a lesson to Max just having a string of creative adventures. By moving a scene from earlier in the film to the end, the interacting between Max and Mom implies no lessons were learned by either, and the whole thing was just one event in a series. You could argue that it actually doesn't make any sense, but I'll stop at saying that it just doesn't fit with the narrative throughline of the film.
The original film was imperfect. It definitely needed a bit more of the emotive magic that NJVC's musical edits put in. It also probably needed a bit more fleshing out of the story with some more explicit details to add depth. For me though, this edit goes the opposite direction and makes the film very superficial and just 'a boy's adventure'. It's worth a watch, to be sure, and everyone can then make up their own mind. But for me the original film is a much deeper and more emotionally cathartic journey.
I highly enjoyed this edit!! I loved the musical choices and I really liked how the story was restructured to cut back and forth between the real world and wild world. The intro was great, and I liked the new ending as well!
This was a very professional looking edit and I think it's now my preferred version of this movie!
Seamless edit. The restructuring worked so much better than the original film. The music was a vast improvement in my opinion. This is absolutely my go to version of this movie. Great work!
The film already had wonderful visuals, but njvc managed to put the magic of childhood into it. Keeping the focus entirely on Max, while trimming away the things that would make us wish he hadn't - this is the now the experience it always should have been. What a brilliant transformation.
Whether someone was a fan of the original film or not, I recommend you give this version a shot. It's a ride worth taking.
My review is based on the blu-ray version of the fanedit.
Technically, it was brilliant. There wasn't a single cut audio or visual that indicated this was a fanedit. I was really surprised by this. Removing and replacing music, that can be a really difficult task, but had I not seen the original, I would not have known this was a fanedit. I really liked all the music choices too (well, one exception mentioned below)
Narrative was mostly fantastic. I did not care for the original. In the original the kid was annoying and bratty and that's not how I like my main characters to be. Cutting all of his unlikeable scenes actually made him tolerable in this version.
I didn't really get the ending at first though. It was so fast, all of a sudden the movie was over and I was left with "wait, what just happened, how's it over" I had to rewind it to watch again because it really comes up on you. If you look away for 5 seconds, literally you miss the whole thing. After rewatching though, it's actually much darker than I noticed naturally. I think this was one area where the music didn't really work. It sounded like a happy ending, but upon rewinding and rewatching the last 30 seconds, I was like "wait a minute, that's not happy at all, this is actually a really dark ending." The implications of that last interaction with his mom and the camera zoom on his outfit really is a much darker ending than the music and title screen seemed to indicate.
I highly recommend this edit. I especially would recommend this edit to be shown to others as an introduction to fanedits. I suspect that everyone who has seen the original will like this version better and anyone who hasn't seen the original would never even realize this wasn't original - and when told, they'd have no interest in going back.
Enjoyment: 9 (original 4)