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23rd February
2009
written by Steph
Doesn't this look like it's a creepy movie rather than cheery?

Doesn't this look like it's a creepy movie rather than cheery?

This weekend Tony & I went to see Coraline in 3D.  We hardly ever go out to see movies, since we have a Netflix account which means that movies come to us instead, but I figured that that extra third dimension might add something pretty cool to the movie-watching experience, so we got off our lazy butts and ventured out to the theater. [As an aside, I will mention that we did head out about 2 weeks ago to go see Slumdog Millionaire, but traffic was a beast near the mall AND then when we got there the theater was a complete zoo for reasons we could not understand.  Literally people were lining up outside of the theater in order to buy tickets.  But to what film?  Surely all those people couldn’t have been that into He’s Just Not That Into You, right?  Anyway, we stood in line for the automated box office for about 15 minutes, eating all of our blueberry yogurt covered raisins meant for the film in the process, after which point we still hadn’t purchased tickets and decided that we would just go home.  So essentially, we went to the movie theater and ate a box of candy but saw no movie.  Awesome.  Also, we have still not seen Slumdog, but I guess given that it just won the Oscar, we probably will now.] Ok, so Coraline in 3D.  Really cool!  Well worth the $10 tickets, I think.  Unlike other movies I’ve been to that have dabbled with 3D effects, this one went all out and you actually wear your glasses for the ENTIRE movie.  The 3D element was fairly well done – it was stronger/more prominent in certain parts of the movie than others – and I think that if movie studios want to encourage people to actually go out and see movies, they need to do more of this kind of thing, since it really gives you an experience that will not be matched in your living room.  Given the surreal and cartoon-type feel to Coraline, the 3D effects didn’t feel gimmicky or offputting, but really enhanced the whole movie experience.  It made the whole thing feel a lot more immersive, and helped pull us into Coraline’s freaky freaky world. And make no mistake about it, Coraline is a pretty creepy movie at times.  I think a lot of people have this misguided belief that if something is animated that automatically means it’s for children, which is how kids wind up watching South Park, I guess.  Some of the reviews I read for the film were pretty angry because they said it was much too scary for their kids, and all I have to say is: duh.  Obviously you need only watch the trailer for this movie to figure out that this ain’t a Disney film, and it is likely going to go to dark places.  I probably wouldn’t take any kid who was younger than 10, so if you’re thinking of taking your children, unless they're super brave or like to be creeped out, you have been warned.
Everything is better in 3D!

Everything is better in 3D! (Note: this picture was taken at a different event, that we will probably blog about later... 3D is everywhere!)

The basic premise of the movie is that Coraline is a fairly precocious and tenacious young girl (maybe about 11 years old?) who moves to a rural town with her parents who are über killjoys.  Rather than being charmed by her feisty go-get-‘em spirit, her parents are instead simply tired and pay little to no attention to her.  Coraline discovers a passageway in the house that takes her into a parallel universe populated my her “other mother” and “other father” (who have buttons for eyes), and they actually want her around.  Everything is hunky dory there, and Coraline wants nothing more than to live there permanently, only as is often the case in these “Be careful what you wish for” scenarios, things might not actually be as peachy as they first seem.  Once things in the other universe begin to unravel, that is when things start to get creepy, and Coraline must use all of her cunning in order to reclaim her previous life, which might have been boring, but at least she gets to keep her own eyes, you know? Overall, it was an engaging cinematic romp with strong voice acting and a compelling story.  I’ve never read Neil Gaiman’s original story, so I don’t know how well it transitioned to film, but I think the animation used really nailed the type of vibe you’d want for this kind of film.  There were a few parts that felt a little clunky (namely anything involving Coraline’s friend Wybie) and expositional (or oddly like you were getting the backstory a little bit too late and some of the plot points that show up could have been introduced a little bit more subtly rather than just throwing them at you all of a sudden), but the movie is still really enjoyable and not really one that lends itself to nitpicking anyway.  At no point did I wonder how much more was left (secretly hoping the answer was “not much”), and it held my interest the entire time, which is a lot more than I can say for most movies these days.  If you’re looking for a movie that is pretty much guaranteed to please and amuse you, I’d say Coraline is a pretty safe bet. Rating: 4 out of 5

5 Comments

  1. 02/23/2009

    I liked this book, and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. The book was pretty scary, with super-creepy illustrations.

  2. 02/24/2009

    I’d love to hear what you think of movie when you do see it, given that you’ve read the book. I think the movie is probably a very faithful adaptation that does the book justice, but I can’t really say that with any authority.

  3. Laura
    02/24/2009

    I have been waiting for this movie for a long time (now just need to find time to see it). I read the book a few years ago and man, I thought it was crrreeeepy. The pictures in the book really freaked me out. I’ve read some of Neil Gaiman’s other stuff and Coraline’s my favourite (I think there was another wonderfully creepy kid’s book called The Wolves in the Walls that he wrote too). I think I read somewhere that the character you found awkward in the movie isn’t in the book.

    My mom taught with a teacher who read Coraline to his grade 5 class. One morning he arranged with the principal to have an announcement read over the PA that the ‘other’ Mr. Wills was to be their teacher that day. When the kids entered the classroom, they found their teacher sitting in the rocking chair, with big, black buttons in his eyes. I would have flipped out. What an awesome teacher.

  4. 02/24/2009

    That is a totally freaky story about Mr. Wills! I would have freaked out too! But it is kind of cool that he would do that to his class. Make sure you torture your kiddies in a similarly awesome fashion!

    Didn’t you read a book of Neil Gaiman short stories when you were in Japan? I think I remember you said you did, although it might have been someone else. The only other thing of his that I’ve read was Stardus, which I didn’t enjoy very much at all. But I enjoyed Coraline considerably more, so maybe I should try him again. I’ve heard that his latest book, The Graveyard Book, has been very popular.

    You should definitely go see this movie in the theater, preferably in 3D, if you can! It’s a real treat!

  5. 02/25/2009

    I just got this book for my kids, and want to get a chance to snag it before we see the movie. I wasn’t aware that this movie was being shown in 3-D, I think that is pretty cool! I am glad you liked it, and I am pretty sure that I will too. I’ll let you know what I think.

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