Sunday, October 30, 2016
Last time I reviewed a Neil Gaiman adaptation, I was less than kind to him as a writer, given I'd just watched a truly awful episode he wrote for Doctor Who, and was less than enthused about what I'd read to do with his Stardust book, but it's been a few years, and I've long since mellowed on that (although I do still hate that episode of New Who with a fiery passion!), and am looking forward to talking about the 2009 adaptation of his book Coraline...
Coraline is a girl whose parents have just moved to the Pink Palace Apartments, a large old house filled with eccentric tenants. She's pretty bored by the palace, but is interested in a little door in a random wall, though it disappointingly leads to nowhere. Later that night though, it's suddenly opened up into a corridor leading to another world which seems better in every way than the normal one, though everyone has bizarre buttons for eyes. Coraline's Other Mother is hospitable at first, but her malevolent true intentions are soon revealed, and she won't stop until she's sewn buttons onto Coraline's eyes and stolen her soul...
Coraline is an awesomely spooky flick! An all-ages story, Coraline is the kind of movie that will probably traumatize most kids. The best kind! It's delightfully and creative, with many interesting ideas and visuals.
On that note, the stop motion animation is great! I seriously cannot say enough the sheer talent it'd take to create this movie! It doesn't even take the easy way out of only being 70 minutes, but is a regular length movie.
The story is a really good one, with many twists and turns, and you identify with the lead, as well as be enraptured with her as you're whisked from the drab real world to the fantastic Other World.
This is also by all-accounts a pretty faithful and well-done book-to-film adaptation. One change does bug me though, and that's that the second climax didn't need to be more action-y than the events of the book's, as the confrontation with the Other Mother already fit that bill, and the movie had since quietened down. I also don't like Wybie's involvement. Like I said, in the book, Coraline knew the hand was following her, but here, she's taken unawares, and has to be saved by Wybie. He's even the one who destroys it! On that note, he's a pretty superfluous and annoying character, who wasn't evn in the book! I did like his Other World version though, so his presence isn't too bad.
Dakota Fanning makes for a great lead, and the rest of the acting is fine too, particularly Teri Hatcher as the villainous Other Mother.
Coraline is highly recommend. It's a great movie, and a perfect example of everything wonderful about stop-motion, as well as how to make effective horror movies for youngin's. It's not directed by Tim Burton though. Some people still seem to be under that mistaken impression...