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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Books into Movies: Dragon and Wild Things

We've been on a movie-drought lately, what with all the ice hockey practices and other activities going on.  But last month Hubby, Kiddo and I did sit down to watch a movie together, and then this week Kiddo and I actually went to the movies - WOW.  Both movies we watched were based on books so that's a bonus!

Movie #1: Where the Wild Things Are (on DVD)

Let me start by saying that this book is controversial in our house.  To me it is one of the stupidest things ever written.  To hubby it is the best children's book in the history of the world.  I hated it as a kid.  Hubby loved it without reservation.  Kiddo is rather indifferent to it.  His Grammy has read it to him several times (note here that his Mommy has NOT read it to him!) and he didn't really have much of an opinion either way.

When Hubby saw the previews for this movie he was estatic.  He couldn't wait to take Kiddo to see it.  Unfortunately time got away from him and the next thing you know it was out on DVD.

We sat down together to watch this one evening last month, all hoping for an enjoyable evening.  It wasn't looking good for me when I was uncomfortable with the direction of the movie within the first 10 minutes.  Even Kiddo was shocked by Max's horrendous behavior; he couldn't understand why any kid would act like that, especially the way Max behaved toward his mother.  Then Max got to the island and I quickly was bored.  I ended up spending the rest of the movie checking my Google Reader and answering emails.  About halfway through Hubby leaned over and whispered "This is REALLY bad." I couldn't agree more.*

Hubby and I ended up actually hating this movie.  Kiddo was generally unimpressed.

Movie #2: How to Train Your Dragon (in the theater)

Hubby had to work late but Kiddo and I had a rare free evening so the two of us headed out to see How To Train Your Dragon.  We were joined by my brother-in-law and his oldest son, Kiddo's cousin J.  J is three-and-half years old and this was his first time at the movies.  (In case you forgot, Kiddo is 8.)

We chose to see the 3D version, but not the 3D XD (only because it wasn't showing then).  Surprisingly there weren't that many people in the theater but it was a Monday night so maybe that explains it ...

We donned our 3D glasses - after explaining to J that he had to keep them on all during the movie - and settled back into our seats.  The adventure began quickly!  Within just a few minutes the dragons are attacking the Viking Village and things are getting crazy.

We were all really into the story from the start.  Kiddo and J were laughing out loud and even clapping at various points during the movie.  A few times they jumped in surprise but nothing was scary, just mildly unexpected.

The graphics in this movie are amazing, and the story is a great one.  I can't compare it to the book because we've never read it, but the move was excellent.  After it was over I asked Kiddo what he thought of it.  His usual response is "Eh, it was ok."  This time was different though.  This time he answered, "It was phenomenal!" And when Hubby later asked him if it was the best movie he's ever seen, he thought for a few minutes then replied, "It is ALMOST better than Star Wars."  And if you know Kiddo, you know that is the very best rating he could ever give.

I LOVED this movie and cannot wait for it to come out on DVD.  You can bet that we'll be buying it right away.

Have you seen either or both of these movies?  Please share your (spoiler-free) opinions on them in the comments!  

*Updated to add: I wasn't really clear about what I didn't like on the island so here's a list: monsters are creepy, plot is odd and didn't appeal to me at all, relationship between monsters are strange, the entire thing made me uncomfortable and bored at the same time. How's that? :)


Michelle said...

I totally agree with you on WtWTA. I was so, so horribly disappointed in the movie, and I loved the book!

I still can't shake the feeling that Carol (The Wild Thing voiced by James Gandolfini) is like the abusive father of the island. He's mean, he threatens the others, he's violent. Far, far too real-world scary (As opposed to Harry Potter fantasy scary, that is) for kids.

Bad movie. :(

Regina said...

I haven't seen Wild Things...but I heard that it was pretty horrible.

I'm glad to hear that "How to Train Your Dragon" is worth watching. It's definitely on my list!

Thanks Heather. :-)

Amy said...

I'm so sad you didn't like Wild Things...I loved it. I thought it was beautiful and bittersweet and not a kid's movie.

I want to see Dragon, the reviews have really won me over!

Florinda said...

We've seen How to Train Your Dragon twice - the second time was in 3D. Everyone in my family - including the 15-year-old - loved it!

Sara said...

Haven't seen Wild Things, but we did go see How to Train Your Dragon, and my whole family loved it. We will definitely be reading the book soon!

Crystal said...

I think Where the Wild Things Are wasn't a kids movie at all and I was sadly disappointed. I didn't like seeing it with my son because he saw the way the child acted without knowing the reasoning. As an adult movie it gave me things to think on, but wasn't at all what I wanted in the movie. I love the book and enjoy reading it to the kids but how you take a book that is that short and turn it into a movie with meaning was completely beyond me.

I'll have to check out How to Drain Your Dragon. We saw the preview before Alvin & The Chipmunks The Squeakuel and put it on our want to see list.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I don't think I've heard of a positive reaction to WTWTA yet, which is such an utter disappointment. On a brighter note, I'm glad to see you liked Dragon! I thought the preview looked promising.

Dreamybee said...

I don't think I liked the book Where the Wild Things Are as a kid either-I just remember thinking that Max was a pain in the butt. I agree with Kiddo that his on-screen persona was horrendous, even worse than in the book, I think. I really liked the movie though. It definitely was not what I was expecting-I walked out feeling like I'd been emotionally beat up, and I don't think this was a movie for young children-but it really touched me.

I had a hard time with the Carol character too-like Michelle said, I felt like he was very abusive. I was having a hard time trying to figure out *who* the wild things were-were they representative of actual people in Max's life? Were they just his imaginary friends? Were they actual people that Max met out in the neighborhood that he sensationalized into wild characters in his imagination? Then Hubby clued me in (and this next part might me a tiny bit spoiler-y, but I don't think it ruins anything) that they were each different elements of Max's character, and it all made a lot more sense. Carol is scary because he's what Max (and, presumably, all of us) is capable of becoming.

The other reason that it was touching was because there was a personal connection for me between the Wild Things and Buster. :)

I've been going back and forth on How to Train Your Dragon, but now I think I want to see it. Is it worth it for the 3D, or should I just go to the theater that is 10 minutes from my house but not in 3D?

Heather J. said...

Amy - I've heard that from a few people. I'm glad SOMEONE liked it. :)

Florinda - I'd pay to see it again myself!

Sara - I'm going to check into the book to see if it is around Kiddo's reading level. He's a reluctant reader b/c it doesn't come easy to him, but he loved the movie so he might work harder at that book. I can hope!

Crystal - Yes, I agree that Wild Things was more of an adult movie; I just wish it had been marketed better so that more people understood that.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity - Well, "My Friend Amy" liked it, and so did Raych from "books i done read" so there ARE a few dissenting opinions out there ... ;)

Dreamybee - I too didn't get what the monsters were supposed to represent but I think your husband may have gotten it right. It does give me a different perspective on the movie, but it doesn't change the fact that I didn't like it. :) I DO get the idea of the Buster connection though (speaking of which, how are you doing? Sending positive vibes your way.) As for the Dragon movie, the 3D was really beautiful but I think you'd enjoy the movie just as much in a regular theater.

Allie said...

I went and saw Dragon on monday night as well! We saw it in 3D IMAX and I was impressed with how amazing it looked. I am a huge fan of anythign dragon related (nerdy, yes), so I absolutely loved it. I loved the personalities of the different dragons, and the story.

Lisa said...

I never thought Where The Wild Things Are should be made into a movie. Then I was thinking that since Sendak was involved in the movie and even picked the person he wanted to write the screenplay that maybe it would be ok. Clearly not.

Ryan G said...

Me and Aidan are lovers of Where The Wild Things are book so when the movie came out we were all for it. I wish someone had told me that the movie wasn't really all that kid friendly. The rock throwing was a little much for me. I was so dissapointed in the movie, Aidan actually was just bored by it.

We will be seeing the Dragon movie soon though.

Shay said...

My kids never loved or hated the Wild Things book, there was simply so many others they actually loved. The Wild sucked!! It was absolutely horrible. In my top 5 of worse movies ever.

Dreamybee said...

I'm doing much better, thanks. I still have moments, but you know. Life goes on. :)

I think another thing about Where the Wild Things Are is that it was probably a lot better on the big screen-this was a movie that I enjoyed watching for the visual elements, so I can see how it probably wouldn't have played quite as well on DVD. (I'm not trying to talk you into liking it, I just thought of that as I was reading the other comments!) ;)

Rebecca Reid said...

lol I'm the one who loves the book Where the Wild Things Are. My husband hates it and finds it pointless. I personally decided long ago that any movie of it would be dumb. Glad I was right :)

Heather J. said...

Allie – I’m a dragon fan too (I even used to collect them!), and I’ve clearly rubbed off on kiddo. :)

Lisa – Yes, clearly not. Although there are a scattered few who disagree …

Ryan – Oh I can’t imagine how Kiddo would have reacted if we’d seen this in the theater. SO GLAD we did not … hubby might actually have walked out.

Shay – I know, right?!

Dreamybee – Yes, I know – I’ve been going through the same thing since losing Jasmine. I keep thinking “oh I need to let her in now” or “oh, did I put food down for her?” and then I realize that she’s not here anymore. :(

Rebecca – I think your husband and I would get along just fine! LOL Glad you didn’t waste your time with this movie.

Alyce said...

We loved How to Train Your Dragon so much that we're actually thinking of going to see it again in the theater - which we never do. I loved the music too, and thought that it really enhanced the experience. We listened to the theme song/soundtrack on Youtube multiple times the weekend we watched the movie. :)

Heather J. said...

Alyce - I'm thinking about seeing it again, simply so my husband get go this time - it really was THAT good. I'll have to check out the music on YouTube; I didn't notice it during the movie.

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