Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Yet another movie based on the works of comic god Neil Gaiman(sorry, no Sandman yet), this stop-motion animated film was directed by Henry Selick, whose former works include The Nightmare Before Christmas and James And The Giant Peach. It was one of the few movies that he acted alone from Tim Burton from, but was much more successful than his bomb of Monkeybone. Gaiman's book Coraline was largely inspired by Alice In Wonderland, and I'd have say that this film made for a better fantasy/suspense movie for kids that the recent Tim Burton one.
Set in an apartment home in the midwest, Coraline is a bored girl whose family has recently moved into the old estate. After leaving all her friends behind from her former town, she finds her new crib to be slightly off. There's strange neighbors, an enigmatic stray cat, a chatty boy named Wybee(short for Wyborne)and a mysterious door in her living room which leads to a brick wall. One night, Coraline follows a mouse throught the door which leads to an alternate version of her house called the Other World. There, she encounters her Other Mother who runs it, who appears to be a friendlier doppleganger of her real mother. She cooks her lavish breakfast/dinners, introduces her to more entertaining versions of her already eccentric neighbors, and a silent copy of Wybee. However, Coraline soon realizes that this is all an elaborate trap, mainly because the cat in the Other World can talk and warns her. After O.M. tells her that can stay in this world forever as long as she gives up her eyes, Coraline runs away, but gets imprisioned with the ghosts of three other children that had given their souls to Other Mother, who is revealed to be a bedlam. As an extra insentive to get Coraline, she kidnaps her parents. The cat tells her to trick the bedlam into a game, so that she can free her parents and the ghost children. After facing the rather twisted residents of this nightmare as it unfolds around her, she has a final confrontation with Other Mother in her web. Coraline escapes, but the bedlam's hand makes it through to our side. Wybee helps bury the hand in a deep well, and then Coraline has a big garden party with the "real" members of her apartment building.
This was an exceptionally creepy movie, but in a good way. Henry Selick manages to make this a hauntingly great experience, and definately not one for toddlers to see before hitting the hay. It was all done painstakingly with a large group of devoted animators whose efforts really paid off in the final product. The use of 3D is well done too without being looked at like some kind of gimmick, although its effect while watching it on TV is debatable. Regardless, this film should add to Selick's ongoing career as he's now signed on with Disney to do more feature films.