This afternoon we took a trip to one of our favorite towns, Stoughton WI and decided to check out the Stoughton Cinema Cafe where you can watch first-run movies from the comfort of a private table with oversized swivel chairs, while eating fresh, hand-made pizza that they will bring to your table in the theater. They also have other food and drink like hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, etc. Definitely something for everyone.
I’ve been dying to take MM to see Where The Wild Things Are since first seeing the previews ages ago. It’s a favorite book in our household so he was very excited when we told him we were going to see “The Max Movie” in the big theater – and being able to have lunch at the same time meant killing two birds with one stone and lowering the odds of a melt down in the middle of the theater if he got tired or hungry.
I’ve read some bad reviews of this movie, taking fault with the backstory (i.e. why Max was in such a wild, disagreeable mood) and overall plot deviations (how Max arrives at the Land Where The Wild Things Are and what he does while he’s there) that Spike Jonze fleshed out for the movie, and I disagree. I think Jonze did a really good job taking a 10 sentence story and turning it into a 100 minute movie. I really think they did an excellent job recreating the original ebb and flow of this story. One of my favorite things about the book is the sort of circular story telling and how the Land Where The Wild Things Are closely resembles the day Max had been having before going there. They do a similar thing in the movie, really showing how Max’s imagination creates a story loosely based off his own life, dealing with the same problems he was having at home.
I’d been worried this movie would be too scary for my three year old – I mean there are giant monsters thrashing about, and it does get a bit intense at moments but MM still loved it. He laughed and cried and stared in awe of the whole thing and when it was over he asked if we could watch it again. I think my favorite thing about this movie was my son’s experience of it. It was amazing to watch him watch it. It was the first time my husband and I were able to really witness him show empathy. He cried at the sad parts and really seemed to understand what was going on and while there were moments he looked afraid, the movie did a good job showing that those huge monstrous looking creatures were not something to be afraid of. Older children might catch on to the idea those creatures, in their own way, are just like them.
And if you remember the story, yes you will notice some changes, but the crucial blueprint of the story remains the same. From house to boat to the wild to the boat to the house again. It’s all there – even the warm dinner waiting for him when he gets home. And I have to say, in some ways I think the change to some plot points was a nice thing, because you didn’t know exactly what was going to happen the whole time – it allowed you to be surprised occasionally, to feel suspenseful when you weren’t entirely sure how some things would pan out but still feel the comfort of some of those well known lines, like “Let the wild rumpus start!” or “I’ll eat you up, I love you so!” from the original story, guiding you along from beginning to end.
Overall I’d give this movie a solid B+ and our movie experience an easy A. If you are ever in Stoughton, Wisconsin, I highly recommend the Stoughton Cinema Cafe for a unique movie experience and some really delicious pizza (we had sausage and cheese).