I can totally understand now why Warner Brothers freaked out when they saw the first cut of this movie.
First of all, this isn’t a kid’s movie. This is an adult reflection about being a 9 year old boy. Something a kid may not recognize without that kind of perspective. Parts of the movie were very sad (especially the opening minutes to the movie and Max and Carol’s last scene – Max Records and James Gandolfini were great) and there was one really scary scene (for a child).
I can see how someone could not like this movie. Turning a short book about a kid having fun running around with a bunch 0f monsters into a kid’s psychological self-examination about his personal and familial issues via interacting with monsters who represent aspects of himself or his sister and mother is a bold step (how Spike Jonze and co-write Dave Eggers even got there amazes me). But personally, I loved it. I think that this movie will resonate stronger with people who had an older sibling like it did with me.
All the voice work was great but not enough can be said about James Gandolfini’s work as Carol especially when things start to fall apart.
I saw it in IMAX and be warned that some of the handheld camera work might make you a little nauseous.