In short...biggest disappointment ever. Or of the year at the very least. Let me get this clear: I liked it, but I didn't like it as much as I wanted to. I think my problem was with character development. Even ten minutes in, I realized how hard it was for me to love Max and I just wasn't "feeling it". And maybe it's because I had had a rough day last Friday and my mind was elsewhere, I'm really not sure. I felt that the characters weren't very well fleshed out, so I couldn't bring myself to care very much for them, even after spending almost two hours with them.
That being said, it is a very beautiful movie. The scenery is gorgeous, the costumes are perfect (I'm fully expecting them to win the "Best costume" Oscar), and the "Wild Things" world felt real to me. It's just character that was an issue for me. And a lot of people I've talked to who have seen this movie have loved it, so Kirk and I are probably in the minority, but that's okay.
I think my big problem is that I hyped it up too much. I went in expecting it to be one of the best theatre experiences of my life, so of course I was going to be disappointed. I had this discussion with Jeremy once, about how if you have high expectations for a film, you are going to be disappointed. But if you go in expecting to hate it, then it feels better when you are pleasantly surprised. Since the trailer for Where the Wild Things are was among the better trailers I've ever seen, of course my expectations were high. Whereas a few years ago a friend dragged me to Beerfest, and I went in fully expecting to hate it, because I'd hated Super Troopers. But I loved it, and I think part of it was the fact that I was so pleasantly surprised.
So the big lesson? Try to keep expectations in check. No movie can be everything you want it to be, and going in expecting it to be is going to set you up for disappointment. I have learned that a few times in the past two years with films I've put on a pedestal (such as Watchmen, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Neither were as good as I'd hoped, though I still enjoyed them. Disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow, but I think this time the lesson has sunk in.
I think I'd probably give Where the Wild Things are a 6/10. I think people should go see it for sure, especially on the big screen, but it's not worthy of raves from me. I do want to see it again, probably on DVD, to see whether it was just my mental state that affected my enjoyment of it.