I wasn’t able to make it on opening weekend, but I was finally able to break away this weekend with my girlfriend to see a 3-D showing of the stop-motion animated film Coraline in Dallas as part of our Valentines day expedition. It takes an awful lot for me to venture over to Dallas, so you have to know that I was pretty excited to see it after enjoying the Hugo award winning book so much last year.
So to get right down to it, in the film we follow Coraline, a remarkable young girl that’s big on imagination and anxious to fill her days with adventure. Only thing is she’s just moved to a a new home at the Pink Palace Apartment Complex, has no new friends yet, and her parents are so preoccupied with their jobs, and settling into the new place that they pay very little attention to her. Bored and alone, she sets out to find exciting new things wherever she can find them. And one day our little “explorer” happens upon a small door in her new, ginormous, house that she had never stumbled across before. Initially disappointed that it led to nothing but a sealed brick wall, through a series of strange events, she finds that late at night she’s able to walk through a tunnel behind the door that leads to an opening on the other side. One evening, summoning her courage, she slowly crawls into the tunnel and emerges from the other side only to find herself…right where she started, the very room that she had just left. Or is it? Little details are different and when she hears her mother’s humming nearby she walks into the kitchen to find her mother hard at work cooking dinner. Coraline is astonished at the whole thing given that the kitchen smells great and that her mother and father don’t cook particularly well, but is even more taken back when her mother turns around, a big smile on her face, revealing buttons for eyes!
Hi Coraline, I’m your other mother.
It’s a world full of magic and fantasy, and a place much different than the dull, rainy, days that fill her afternoons at home — but all is not as it seems and Coraline quickly learns that at second glance, this new world is in reality, a nightmare in the making and that if she is to survive, and save those she loves, she’ll have to utterly defeat her ‘Other Mother.’
Coraline is a fantastic movie full of wonder and imagination, weirdness, zany characters and much for the eyes to feast on throughout the 100-minute stop-motion experience. I was consistently awed at what Selick and his talented crew of animators were able to do with the stop-motion technique and had to remind myself multiple times of just what I was seeing. The story isn’t rushed, and there’s plenty of time to immerse yourself in the fantastic world that Gaiman and Selick have created. The voice actors all did an amazing job, with particular kudo’s to Dakota Fanning and Terri Hatcher for bringing the two main characters to life in the amazing manner in which they did, and Bruno Coulai’s musical score almost became a character unto itself as I was consistently tuning in to see what each piece would bring to a scene. Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I downloaded the soundtrack the next day.
Anyhow, I hope you’ll go see the movie and that you’ll get a lot out of it as well. I had a lot of fun wit it and can’t wait to own the DVD, with all the behind-the-scenes “making of” features! Let me caution you not to take young children to see it without having first screened it yourself as there are some particularly scary scenes for youngsters. A little guy sitting near me, for example, sat crouched in his seat hiding his face in his Dad’s sleeve half the movie. Also, be sure to stay through the credits.