I've now seen it twice, and I think I'm prepared to name it my favourite movie of all time.
Here's the thing though: it's a kid's movie in the same sense that Silence of the Lambs is a serial killer movie. The movie is about childhood; it's not for children. Sure, some kids will get it (I know I probably would have, had it come out in about 1981 or so) but some kids will run screaming from it, and smaller ones will probably just fall asleep.
As a movie about what it's like to be a kid, though, it's... well, perfect. I was Max. I lived inside my own imagination half the time, had divorced parents, and could be downright uncontrollable. I joked before the film came out that I was going to see my childhood on screen. It turned out not to be a joke; take off that wolf costume and Max is me.
And, I suspect, Spike Jonze too.
There's not a frame of that film I would change. Sure, the effects are magnificent. Sure, the dialogue is genius (KW's "They like it when I do that" is going to be my new catch-phrase for when I do something totally obnoxious.) Sure, Karen O's soundtrack is brilliant.
But what makes the film perfect is how relentlessly honest it is about what it's like to be a kid. It does what no other movie has ever done, and Jonze does what no other film maker, to the best of my knowledge, had even attempted to do before.
When Where the Wild Things Are inevitably fails to even get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, the Academy Awards will be well and truly dead to me forever. I've long since given up on them being meaningful, but at that point they will simply cease to be part of my universe.