Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! As if I didn't expect anything less from Ang Lee. This film is a must see adventure with a depth you can continue to explore. This is a film you watch more than once to peel back the layers.
It has everything you want - well not a ton of romance, but everything else: humor, adventure, drama, danger, mystery, suspense...one of those films that has you leaving the theater with the movie high (that is what I call that feeling as you walk to the car and you don't know whether you want to laugh or cry it was so good).
My absolute favorite aspect is the photography. Yes, I know, it is all computer, but who cares? The scenes, especially at night, are amazing and have to be that way. Remember, this man is telling a story to a writer. Who tells boring stories? Stories by definition have to have some excitement, so telling it with some interesting twists is only conventional.
The overall theme I took from this film is that life has huge challenges and sometimes we have to move on and learn from those challenges, even if it means looking beyond the horribleness of the reality and searching for the good...the lesson. While some of the violence may be hard for children, I think this movie is a huge teaching opportunity on so many levels. Although I have not read the book, I think there is much to gain from a deep look into the story in print before seeing this movie, especially with kids. It is a beautiful story, but not an easy one.