Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's book 'Where the Wild Things Are' is nine sentences of pure, unadulterated childhood nostalgia. Reading or listening to a parent read Sendak's words while staring slack-jawed at the gorgeous, detailed, hyper-imaginative illustrations of the titular fantastical beasts has become as intrinsic a part of growing up as learning the ABCs.

The book is a work of surprising poignancy for something so utterly brief and simple -- and for almost two decades now filmmakers have labored fruitlessly to flesh it out and bring it to the big screen. That will all change on Oct. 16, when the world Sendak conjured four-and-a-half decades ago at long last comes to breathtaking life in a live-action feature film steered into theaters by the equally unbridled mind of director Spike Jonze.

But now that our prayers have been answered and the Wild Things and their mischievous boy-king Max are here in all their howling, teeth-gnashing glory, does the movie live up to fans' 'Wild'-est dreams? And equally as important, is it suitable for kids? Or is it an "adult" movie about a kid, rendered too scarily for small children?

The short answers are: Yes, yes ... and probably not. The long answers are a wee bit more complex.