Angry Zen Minion Tyler Anderson sent in this wonderful guest review of Coraline.
Coraline. Is. The. Shit. Period.
As an avid stop-motion animation fan, I was incredibly excited for Coraline. My excitement was well rewarded with an incredible experience, which excels in almost every aspect of the format. From the backgrounds to the little realistic motions like hair moving and water to the jiggle of overweight tennants, everything is spot on. Consider the fact that Coraline’s hair was made up primarily of wire, and every time that her hair seemed to move it was individual pieces of wire being moved millimeter by millimeter per frame. Seeing it move on screen without feeling like it wasn’t moving naturally was astounding. The 3D is done very well also. It’s not your typical gimmicky 3D where things pop out at you every seven seconds to capitalize on the novelty, instead the entire movie was shot in 3D. You have a perpetual feeling of everything kind of hovering in front of you a little bit off the screen, which was nice, especially when they used it when you weren’t expecting it, like names in the credits hovering above what’s going on onscreen. This felt less like a gimmick and much more like an actual experience.
For those who aren’t acquainted, Coraline, based on a book written by Neil Gaiman and was written for the screen and directed by Harry Selick (of “James and the Giant Peach” and “Nightmare Before Christmas” fame) is the story of Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning,) a 12 year old girl who moves from Michigan to the “Pink Palace Apartments,” a slightly dilapidated, pink three story Victorian. Her mother (Teri Hatcher) and father (John Hodgeman) are working on a gardening magazine and are as a result too stressed and preoccupied for her. This leads to her exploring the house and discovering a little door, which her mother explains, was blocked off when the house was split into apartments. Apartments which are occupied by Mr. “B” Bobinsky, voiced by Ian McShane; a Russian Circus performer, and downstairs are Ms. Forcible and Ms. Spink a pair of elderly, former burlesque performers who have a collection of Scottie dogs, living and dead, and are voiced by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, respectively. Upon hearing a squeaking coming from downstairs late one night, Coraline heads to the source of the noise, noticing that the previously shut little door, is open. She crawls through to a world where her “other” mother and “other” father have been waiting for her. Her “other” mother is slightly thinner and much more attentive than that of her real mother, offering all manner of treats and her “other” father is much more eccentric, playing jaunty tunes and gardening in an automated, preying mantis shaped gardening machine. The only other major distinction between her two sets of parents being the button eyes her “other” parents are sporting, which are both whimsical and very creepy at the same time. Needless to say things are not entirely how they seem. And what looked as though it was the perfect place for her starts to turn into a twisted realm.
This is a great movie for all ages. In a time where children’s animation and entertainment is catered more to short attention spans and mass marketing, Coraline takes it’s time. Case in point; I took my little sister along, she enjoyed the movie, but the first thing she did was complain that it was too long. At only one hour and fourty minutes I felt differently. Coraline allows itself to touch on the creepy undertones of the movie. Scenes with the “other” mother and “other” father, despite being full of whimsical imagery still managed to creep me out a little bit, which I felt was perfect it feels very reminiscent of Seleck’s other works, which is by no means a bad thing. One of the best parts of this movie is the fact that unlike other animated features, the voiceover work doesn’t at any time feel annoying or grating. The only part of Coraline I felts could have been done without was that of Wybie. He and his “other” equivalent are the tagalong charactrs for Coraline through their native worlds and he seemed to serve no purpose other than to introduce the Cat (voiced by Keith David,) which, while it doesn’t speak in the real world, serves as a guide for Coraline through the “other” world. In short, Coraline is excellently animated, very well acted and is a visual treat. I would very highly recommend seeing it in 3D if your local cinema supports it.
Thanks, Tyler! Brilliant review.
Audrey and I caught this on Saturday and absolutely fell in love with the movie. It was also our first 3D movie experience and I totally agree with Tyler. If it’s available, you MUST see it in 3D. A totally new movie experience for me and well worth the ticket price.