Against talent

At a children’s talent show, listening to flaky child sopranos warbling about over songs built for the meandering squelch of autotune rather than any naked human voice, I started thinking about Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda. I don’t think about Gwendolen Harleth very often – though she’s possibly my favourite George Eliot heroine (alright, favourite after Dorothea Brooke), she’s a character about failure, and since George Eliot is bound up in probably the biggest failure of my life, the resonances are all just a bit too keen.

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Turning a picture-book into a live-action feature seems like a hellishly hard thing to do: as well as translating two-dimensional illustrations into a three-dimensional world, the film has to somehow stretch out a 30-line narrative to fill 90 minutes. The trailer for the adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are (a Paperhouse bedtime regular) says that Spike Jonze found a way to do it really, really well.  Am I having my heart tweaked by the Arcade Fire song over the top? Is the scratchy-charming hand-lettering beguiling my font-addled eyes? Will it work out for the full running time? Yes, yes, and I am really looking forward to finding out. I haven’t been this excited by a trailer since High School Musical 3, and that turned out amazing.