Oh, guys. Where the Wild Things Are was so good. So, so good.
After school I took the boys to the book store to read and purchase the book. We have a shabby soft cover somewhere but I was afraid it wouldn't stand the test of time and I couldn't find it anyway. I wish I had videotaped little kid's reaction to hearing the book for the first time because it was magical. His eyes were wide, scanning the illustrations, his little mouth in an "O" shape or in a wide smile. So sweet.
We were lucky enough to see this at the super swanky new theater in my city. The leather recliners were more comfortable and bigger than the couch cushion I usually share with the kids. I was able to drink wine throughout, which was unbelievably awesome. I sat right next to an alone, fat, mouth-breathing gum chewer who I know bought his tickets and reserved that exact seat at least 2 days ahead of time and he didn't bother me a bit because we each had so much space. Also, I could tell he was a dork like me who was a huge fan of the book and a few times I even felt like hugging him. (But I didn't, because that would've been weird and gross.) We did look at each other and grin several times.
I really don't even know what to tell you. If the costume and set designers don't win academy awards for this, then justice has not been done. I've never seen anything like it...every minute was a visual treat. It's just insane the emotion and character development of the monsters and how they were EXACTLY like the character illustrations in the book.
Also, Max Records, who played Max, was magical. At first I thought he was too old for the character, but he was a fantastic little actor who was full of emotion and who was so everything beautiful about little boys in one tough-but-vulnerable, medium-sized package that I was completely in love. I was especially touched by how much he's like little kid. He is naughty and mad and out of control and wonderful and imaginative and sweet and funny. The mom was great too, and the two of them together brought me to tears.
However, I didn't cry like I thought I would. It was beautiful and nostalgic and wonderful in every sense of the word and I did tear up at least twice, but for those of you who are afraid you'll cry the whole time because you did during the commercials, you won't. Also, it wasn't that scary. There's one scene near the beginning where the monsters gather in a circle and threaten to eat him--and that's a little scary, I might take a little scaredy-cat to the bathroom around then, and then one more where the main monster gets mad and chases him, but it was way less dark than I had anticipated. The monsters were mostly funny and endearing.
Before the movie began, I was worried I would feel let down since I had built it up so much in my mind, but that didn't happen. It was better than I had even hoped. The kids were entranced, Big Kid almost wet his pants because he didn't want to miss a minute. At the beginning, there's a rough ocean scene with Max in a sailboat and the waves are crashing and the cinematography was all crazy and our seats were vibrating with the sound, and Big Kid kept looking at me and saying, "Impressive. Are you impressed? I'm really impressed." Yep, I was impressed.
little kid sat at the edge of his seat, occasionally grabbing my arm and squeezing it or kissing my hand and smiling. As the movie ended, there was a slight hesitation and then someone began clapping. Slowly, shyly, the whole theater began clapping. I would say 85% of the theater stayed until the credits ended. Big Kid complained that it wasn't long enough.
When we got home we made a monster pile on the bed like in the movie, and talked about our favorite monsters and favorite parts and the boys begged me to read the book again. Mr. Ashley raved about the cast and I went on and on about the music and the visual effects and it's trueness to the book. I was wondering how they'd do it, with the book being a short picture book, but they did it. They didn't stray from the original concept, they just filled in a lot of blanks.
This seems ridiculously long, but I seriously loved this movie. I think childless people would love it, I think people who haven't read the book would love it, I really can't imagine not loving it. Even if you can't sit in a plush recliner and drink wine while enjoying it, you'll still love it.
When we got home, I told Mr. Ashley that if we had a 3rd child and it was a boy, I'm naming him Max Atlas and he said he would go for Max. He also didn't object to Atlas. This feels like a victory, even if I don't really plan on having a 3rd child.
Anyway, go see the movie and report back. Pronto.