Thursday, March 17, 2011
This movie is based on a novel by award-winning author Neil Gaiman. I remember buying this book back in middle school at the scholastic book fair and I loved every moment of it. When I saw a movie based on the book was coming out in 2009 I couldn't wait for an adaption of one of my favorite childhood books. And when I finally saw it in theaters I was not disappointed.
Coraline is about a young girl named Coraline Jones who has recently moved into a new house. She finds life constantly boring and is annoyed by the lack of attention her parents give her. However, one afternoon she finds a hidden door that is mysteriously bricked up. Later that night, she follows mice to the door, which is now open, and leads to a more fantastic version of her world. The world is an exact copy of her house but with its residents more lively, more delicious food, toys which are alive, and animate plants. There also lives the Other Mother, an exact copy of Coraline's mother but with button eyes, and who promises to give Coraline anything she wants. However, she is also intent on making sure Coraline stays with her forever.
Looking back, I'm almost surprised the book was marketed to children because it gets consistently more creepy as it goes on. The movie is exactly the same way, and the ending scene is downright nightmare fuel. I heard numerous children crying when I saw it in theaters. It gives the film a great feel though, oftentimes feeling like a modern day Grimm's Fairy Tale, and its nice to see an animated film which isn't worried about scaring kids.
What really makes the film stand out is that it's probably one of the greatest pieces of stop-motion animation ever produced. Stop-motion is a type of animation where objects are moved in small increments and photographed between frames, giving the appearance of motion. The amount of detail they show in the world which is created is incredible, and makes you appreciate how much patience the animators must have had. One short "making of Coraline" videos released prior to the film's release, shows one artist using knitting needles the size of human hairs to create the clothes of the characters. In contrast to most other animated works, there's very little computer generated imagery, its done almost entirely in stop-motion. To get an appreciation of the skill it must have taken to animate the film this way, just watch the trailer:
What's also notable about the film is that its directed by Henry Selick (not Tim Burton), the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas. And it was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It was also the first stop-motion film shot in 3D and I'm really glad I had the chance to see it in 3D when it was playing in theaters. Overall, Coraline is definitely worth checking out. Both for its exquisite story and for its amazing stop motion animation