This is not a movie for kids. This was probably not a book for kids, but some people's parents lived a little more edgy than others. Ha. I read this book as a child, as did many from the 18-35 age range, and this movie is definitely for them.
This movie is for the generation of "hipsters" who grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and craving their cheesy pizza, or the ones who were enamored at Jurassic Park and spent their summer days replaying their favorite scenes in the backyard, or for the ones who spent just as much time watching movies and TV as they did getting scared that it was real because their imaginations were so vivid and the entertainment seemed to peak it just right. A Danny Tanner hug would have probably fixed this.
This movie is for anyone who had an imagination as a child. And not just a fun Care Bears imagination. A real imagination, where monsters really did exist in a world under the bed. And emotions like anger and sadness were still real, they were just dealt in a different manner, under our own terms and rules. That's the world Max lives in. His real life was so abashed that he escaped to a world where he got to be in charge. He was the "wildest of them all" and he could make the rules. That's why the wild things crowned him their king. But, as he realizes in the book, he can only be in charge for so long. The time comes when there are certain things he needs others for. In this case, he realizes that the one person he seems to loathe the most when he escapes, is the one person he needs the most.
I found this movie incredibly vivid and dark, at the same time. Spike Jonze, whose venturing into "family entertainment" for the first time, really seemed to get the point of the book. And, even though the studio famously gave him a hard time for the film being "too scary", I think he made it for the audience it was intended for. It's not for kids. It's to remind adults what it's like to have an imagination and think for yourself, without forgetting those you really need. Especially those of us that are just venturing into the "real world".
The acting is superb. Max Records, who plays the main character Max, is perfect. The wild things, built by the Jim Henson crew, share the same strange presence of the characters in the original 10-sentence book. And the screenplay is hilarious and touching. I couldn't stop laughing every tie a reference was made to K.W.'s friends Bob & Terry.
Definitely check this one out. It's my favorite movie of the year, so far.