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Coraline

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We went to see Coraline tonight. I probably wouldn't have gotten around to it this weekend on my own, but others were going so I tagged along.

I had seen a preview a couple weeks back, and wasn't impressed. I didn't especially like Nightmare Before Christmas, and iIrc I quite liked the animation of James and the Giant Peach but found much of the movie (except the one Roald Dahl song that survived intact) pretty forgettable.

So I was guessing that I would enjoy the visuals in Coraline but not especially like the movie.

But I was wrong. It's a lovely, delightful, charming, and (in a good way) spooky movie. It's hard to be sure of this, because I've seen several movies I liked quite a bit lately, but I think this is my favorite movie of the ones I've seen in at least the past several months.

It has a few moments when it states things a little too directly/explicitly. And I wouldn't recommend taking small kids to it unless you know they like creepy/spooky/scary stuff. And it's been long enough since I read the book that I can't comment on how faithful this movie is to the original; I'll have to go back and re-read it now. I did quite like the book, rather to my surprise at the time; I think both book and movie looked on the surface like things that wouldn't appeal to me, but both turned out to appeal to me quite a bit.

No spoilers here, but I think my favorite thing in the movie is something that's evident within the opening couple of minutes: Coraline's mouth is very expressive, and I love the attitude that it expresses. I think a lot of what makes me like this movie so much more than Selick's (and Burton's) others is that I adore the protagonist here.

. . . I should note that we saw the 2D version. I have yet to watch any of the latest generation of 3D movies; I suspect I wouldn't feel that the effect added much, but I don't know.

Amusing side note: as we were leaving the theatre, I overheard a snippet of conversation between two adults who had been sitting a row or two back from us (there were no kids with them):

"I'm surprised. I thought this was rated G, but [character] said 'rat crap' so I guess it must be PG."

(The amusing thing about this, in case it's not clear, is that there's a lot of other stuff in the movie that I would have thought of sooner as likely to result in a PG rating. The MPAA's actual PG rating is for "thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor." So I guess the phrase "rat crap" may've been part of it, but I suspect not the main part.)

Anyway, I'm drifting from my main point, which is: Coraline. Good movie. Go see it.

3 Comments

Geez, both you AND Real Live Preacher are recommending the movie. Guess I'll have to go see it!!


I think it got a pg rating because it is creepy (so why not throw in a few non-g words). I thought the book was creepy, but I'm easily "creep-ed"

I liked the book, but I felt like something was missing. Like, ordering a dinner from a chef I know well, and finding something askew, to find out latter that she was using a new kitchen. After reading American Gods and carefully considering Stardust, I believe that Neil Gaiman does better when he is writing for a medium that has a visual element-- comics, movies, graphic novels. He is an imaginative and creative force, but his story telling seems to work so much more effectively with pictures (In fact, I think American Gods would be a great movie)Good Omens was a hoot, but that was with Terry Pratchett. When it was announced that Caroline would be made into movie with a similar style and animation to The Nightmare Before Christmas, I felt that it would be a very good match for Gaiman's story telling style.

Anywho, I'm glad you liked it. I wish you had seen it in 3-D, I would really like to hear about that from someone whose opinion I trust.


textjunkie: :) But one thing I forgot to say was that, as usual, I suspect my fairly low expectations played into my enjoyment; if I had had higher expectations, I suspect I wouldn't have liked it quite as much. So maybe I should recommend not having enormously high expectations for it.

cj: Agree re PG rating and creepiness.

I'm not sure I agree re Gaiman and visuals, but my reaction to Gaiman's stuff doesn't tend to completely match other people's. I love much/most of Sandman, and rather like a fair bit of his other comics output I've seen, but Good Omens did nothing for me. I love some of his short stories (Chivalry, A Study in Emerald, The Problem of Susan, Sunbird), but some of his other short stories (even some award-nominated ones) don't do much for me. I haven't read most of his novels; wasn't terribly impressed with the book of Stardust (despite the illustrations), but loved the movie. I didn't read the book of Neverwhere, but (despite some bits I quite liked) wasn't thrilled with the miniseries. I'm partway through American Gods, and liking it more than I expected to, but not loving it.

So ... I think for me my reaction to his stuff has more to do with the topic and his choice of prose style for that particular work than with whether there were visuals involved. ...Also, I think, with whether I get emotionally connected to the characters.

But I'm a little uncertain about your categorization, 'cause the original book of Coraline had illustrations (by Dave McKean), as did Stardust (by Charles Vess). So I wasn't clear on whether you were classifying those as visual or nonvisual.

As for 3D, I'm kinda curious to see the new generation of 3D systems at some point, but so far it still sounds kinda like a novelty to me; I suspect I would find it more distracting than enjoyable. But we'll see.


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