In an average American home magic happens as the small child Max leaves his dysfunctional family to go live in a fantasy world among gigantic monsters who contrary to popular belief of monsters, -don't- rip him to shreds and eat all of him, but instead live with him in much of the same functionality (lack there of).
The movie highlights the importance of being a child. And exemplifies it in every way. When you're a child, all you want to do is have fun, and have friends and be loved. It's sad when the things you do get crushed: such as igloos and adventures, and forts, and well... damn near everything else if you're Max. But the point is that even children feel the effects of family fighting. So wait, I forgot, is this a children's movie or a dysfunctional family intervention?
Oh right. It's about a book! How could I forget?
Possibly because the book is about 1/100th the length of the movie and as such they more or less created a whole new movie just using the characters from the book. In that regard, they did fantastic. The characters are just how I remember them.
In terms of creating a new story around these characters, I also enjoyed the imagination.
In terms of creating a children's movie? They failed. I'm sure that all of the kids who watch this movie will enjoy simply seeing their characters on the big screen. But for all of the adults who watch this movie (with children or without it) it's not only a good story to follow along and reminisce about the days of being a child, but also a shocking reminder of the problems each and every single one of us face every day or our lives.
Despite our ages.