Yearning for escape and adventure, a young boy runs away from home and sails to an island filled with creatures that take him in as their king.Yearning for escape and adventure, a young boy runs away from home and sails to an island filled with creatures that take him in as their king.Yearning for escape and adventure, a young boy runs away from home and sails to an island filled with creatures that take him in as their king.
I'll let others note the purity in the way that sharp childhood is evoked. It is the emotional center of the thing. I'll be more interested here in noting the cinematic use of space. Jonze is famous for this, and how he can connect it to the folds in the narrative.
"Folds" in this context have to do with nesting of narrative elements. For instance the "real world" segments feature eating (twice), fort (twice), snowball fight, wild suit, pileon, pulling at toes, lost marriage, broken model of a heart, being king, son/sun dying and so on. The "wild world" features the same things twisted in ways that suggest the real narrative describing the inner character of Max. This "folding" gives us a place to stand and engages us more deeply, as a key narrative device. There is even a smaller inner fold where Carol (the Max surrogate) makes a model of his world, hidden in the desert. And another where Max enters KW.
I am more interested in the spatial folding. Yup, the way that Jonze has decided to set up and elaborate a vocabulary of movement.
Here's what we have, I think. I have only seen this once and will have to wait for DVD study to confirm it.
The scenes I am working with here are the ones with physical motion, where both the camera and the subjects move: the dogchasing, snowball fight, the amazing encounter with the waves when approaching the island, the rumpus and then the dirtball fight. Frozen motionpaths are in the fort's appendage, the "pile," and indicated by the stickweaving in the global fort and houses.
I believe these all use the same motion template. When someone invents a movie annotation tool where we can find and describe this, it will be easy to check and show. Right now it is an impression, but I got the feeling when watching that wave scene (in IMAX) that I would see the same motion paths in the forthcoming rumpus. Perhaps it was the appearance of the ululating sound that was used every time something got frantic, and by that time twice already. Perhaps it was the obvious reference to the Hokusai woodblock ("The Great Wave off Kanagawa"), where a wild wave becomes an actor, a wild thing dwarfing an iconic mountain, whose shape I thought I also saw on-screen.
I would not be surprised either if Spike used a sigla to denote this motion (like Joyce does in "Finnegans Wake") and that the sigla was KW, denoting the actual paths, the K in plan and the W in the vertical plane. Thus, KW swallowing/eating Max, apart from the obvious vaginal association also takes on a deeply cinematic one, worthy of "Adaptation." I know the work on this was done in Melbourne. Could it be that this apparent one-man shop "Digital Rein" managed this? In an unconnected area, am I misremembering? I recall the phrase was "Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!" (not "start").
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
- Nov 1, 2009