I just got back from seeing Where The Wild Things Are, and it was incredible, a window to my childhood. I'm not talking about a window like Transformers was, this had nothing to do with nostalgia, though I did love the book as a kid. No this movie grabbed me from the opening credits, peeled me open and said, "Remember this? Remember when you felt this way? Remember these emotions? Yeah, I thought you would."
I was Max in this movie. His creativity, his emotion, even his uncontrollable anger (got a better handle on that now), his name might as well have been Austin. Some of the scenes mirrored moments in my own life, like when he breaks something intending to hurt someone close to him, but ends up only hurting himself, or when he runs away in anger, but comes back with a clear head, sorry and thankful.
As Brooke and I were walking out, I asked her what she thought and she said it was a great insight to what I was like as a child. Brooke didn't know me as a kid (well, we did meet at 16), but she said she could still see some of those traits Max displayed in the movie in me, only matured, controlled. Now I've seen a lot of touching movies, some emotional roller coasters that soften even the hardest of hearts, but I've never connected with a movie like this. It almost feels silly, it was just a movie! But it pegged me so well that I felt raw afterwords, like I didn't watch it, but lived it. Because of that, I can't say it's a movie I'd watch over and over again, despite my obvious love for it. I knew I was going to like this movie, I was sold the second I saw the foggy still images of the dense creatures and the inquisitive boy in a wolf costume, I just didn't expect to connect with it like that.
Aside from the whole soul-connecting-emotion of Max thing, the movie was pretty good. Every word in the movie felt deliberate, what needed to be said was said, and that was it, which worked most of the time, but some of the wild things could have been a little more fleshed out, a little more talkative. They asked you to read between the lines a lot, which was fine by me, but I'm sure left many of the kids in the audience scratching their heads. Much like the way Alice in Wonderland (the book) captured the imagination of an 8 year-old girl, Where The Wild Things Are sums up what it's like to be and feel like a 9-year-old boy. The way the wild things emotions flip from fun to ferocious in just seconds mimics the emotional ups and downs of childhood, where everything is happening right now, and nothing is as important as what you're feeling. The wild things themselves look great, like they stepped right out of the book. I think having actual costumes with just CG faces was a great choice as it gave Max something real to touch. Speaking of Max, the kid playing him (also conveniently named Max) was incredible, though I might be biased since I felt like I connected with him--which was either a testament to his talent, or the accurate-to-my-life writing, or a combination. Whatever it was, he was a joy to watch and he carried the movie on his little shoulders.
I'll stop gushing about the movie now and just go ahead and recommend that you see it. Maybe you'll connect with Max too. Even if he wasn't exactly like you, I'm certain parts of him are, there's a wild thing in all of us after all.