There are so many things about this movie to like and the reason it will be treasured for years to come for me is the way that the imagination of the original story has been brought to life for the big screen.
I was immediately quite taken aback by the level of adult complexity to the movie compared with what I vaguely remember to be quite a light textual childrens story. The director and writer have collaborated and expanded on the story to such a level that I feel that a lot of the subtleties and emotions trying to be portrayed would be lost on children, but also enjoyed the paradox that it presented with its simplest childish tales that were questionably lost on some adults as well.
This is quite a haunting story to tell and exploring Max’s mind, as is in the book, becomes quite a stark reality and one that is not obviously divided between reality and imagination, although clearly Max could never seriously navigate a wild ocean such as he does in a little row boat, and oh yeah, monsters don’t exist, ahem…
I was simply mesmerised by the whole thing, filled with emotions at the turmoil Carol suffered and his complex feelings for Max and KW tearing him in two all the while, beautifully narrated by James Gandolfini. And this is all presented quite matter of factly to the viewer in what feels like a true story.
I actually found myself believing that the make believe world and kooky monsters were quite real and we should all ‘sleep in a real pile’ which seemed quite an attractive proposition surrounded by big furry monsters with huge eyeballs and noses soft as Bambi.
There is one scene which especially appealed to me and it is shown in short in the official trailer on YouTube below where Max wakes to find himself being carried by the powerful, gentle but menacing Carol to be shown something and it is shot so beautifully with the rays of sun pouring down upon his crown jewelled face wrapped in the furry goodness of his monster friend. This scene alone brought me back to the fact that we were lost in a child’s imagination but it told the story so well and convincingly I was able to let go and get lost in the simple absurdity of it all.
I love a good title sequence and this one really tickled my fancy with its childish cartoons written over the top of the standard Village Roadshow titles with dinosaur heads to the soundscapes of Max roaring and squealing.
I think that the movie now stands on it’s own as a new piece of work, clearly an adaption but something altogether quite special, and I left the cinema with quite a dark but warm feeling and couldn’t help but think that you could quite easily tell a new story many years on of how Max turned out as an adult.
Now wouldn’t that be an interesting Spike Jonze film?