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Innovative director Spike Jonze collaborates with celebrated author Maurice Sendak to bring one of the most beloved books of all time to the big screen in 'WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE', a classic story about childhood and the places we go to figure out the world we live in.

'FANTASTIC MR. FOX' is visionary director Wes Anderson's first animated film, utilising classic handmade stop-motion techniques to tell the story of the best selling children's book by Roald Dahl.

Join us on Thursday 3 December at 6pm at the Embassy Theatre Wellington for the opening night of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, and again on Saturday 12 December at 1pm for an exclusive preview of Wes Anderson's FANTASTIC MR. FOX.

"It's a curious coincidence that Wes Anderson and Spike Jonze, two of the young film auteurs who came to prominence around the late nineties, have kid-lit adaptations featuring puppets (albeit of vastly differing sizes) coming out simultaneously, and that both FANTASTIC MR. FOX and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE strive for such hand-crafted, individualized looks... the least one can say is that neither very closely resembles anything that's come before." Variety


Rated PG for thematic elements, some adventure action and brief profanity, Square Eyes recommends WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE for ages 9 to adult. Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and suggested profanity, Square Eyes recommends FANTASTIC MR. FOX for ages 7 to adult.

Like Maurice Sendak's 1963 morality tale on which it is based, Spike Jonze's big-screen adaptation of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE has once again sparked discussion about the appropriateness of 'darker' material targeted towards a children's audience.

Fears about Spike Jonze's WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE age suitability first surfaced more than a year ago when test screenings reportedly reduced some children to tears. Delays and reshoots ensued, with some fans expressing concern that ’the scary bits’ would be excised from the final product.

Some early reviews suggested that WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is ’a movie about a child that isn't a children's film’, as Brent Simon wrote in his review for Screen Daily. Is that because it's still too scary? No, but because Brent Simon felt that ’family audiences may find it too challenging’. Spike Jonze himself has acknowledged that this is not ’a studio film for kids, or ... a traditional film about kids. We didn't have a 'Movie Kid' in our movie, or a 'Movie Performance' in a 'Movie Kid' world. We had a real kid and a real world'.

And this is what Square Eyes finds so exciting about this particular large budget, predominantly live-action film. What we are given with this release is a chance to explore and redefine our expectations of what a 'family film' is - one of the primary purposes of Square Eyes.

Because few children live idyllic lives, film - as well as of course being entertaining - can touch on the difficult and the painful; providing a young audience the means to work though their more difficult experiences. Grief and divorce, unemployment, death, love and betrayal all have a place in children's film, just as in film for adults. As the great animation director Hayao Miyazaki states 'Children understand the complexity and uncertainty of things with their skin. They can't be underestimated'.

Through our Square Eyes programming we have discovered that most children are actually ok with mildly scary, with death and other challenging subject matter, with niggling fears, and dark corners. Children are thinking about all these things anyway. What they are possibly less ok with are adults who avoid talking with them about challenging subject matter, or adults who don't take them seriously.

Here is an extract from an article by A. O. Scott, featured in New York Times, which discusses WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and FANTASTIC MR. FOX in relation to the canon of children's film which explores complicated themes and emotions.

Here is an extract from an article by Vanessa Thorpe and Anushka Asthana in the Observer, which also looks closely at this issue.

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