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CORALINE (Henry Selick)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments A wonderful film that I hope you agree falls under the umbrella of Horror: a grown-up story for children or a children's horror story for adults?

CORALINE (Henry Selick, 2009, USA)

"When I speak the word eye, it’s as if I am speaking of somebody’s eye that I faintly remember….” -Bob Dylan

Coraline’s new home is the same as the old: separated from her selfish parents by a distance measured in imagination and unrequited love…until she discovers a sawdust world where everything is cute as a button. Neil Gaiman has once again proved to be the ingenious bard of the new century, telling a grim fairy tale that moves to the mystic rhythm of female empowerment and childhood trauma, resurrecting ghosts that continue to haunt our adult consciousnesses. Within us, these ubiquitous fears are sewn into the very fabric of ourselves: repressed or recognized, Gaiman understands that to be human is to be scared. He is not afraid to tell a children’s story that resonates with very real anxiety and angst. There is a vicious dreamlike quality to CORALINE that the condescendingly inane DreamWorks and Pixar fluff cannot touch, a deep narrative abyss whose mirror-like gaze doesn’t reflect, but traps the souls of dead children. Coraline traverses this nebulous boundary between the worlds of harsh reality and seemingly uncontaminated adoration: her “other mother & father” resplendent with love and affection: a young girl finally understood and respected by her parents, a dream come true. Director Henry Selick’s animation is gorgeously rendered and adds a visionary depth to the subtext that could not be captured in flesh and blood: this is the abstract envisioned in three dimensions, breathing fresh life into clay characters who otherwise could not escape the prison of the typical cinematic form. The precocious heroine soon discovers that all is not what it seems, and she must use all of her resources to escape this buttonhole Hell. Her real parents remain trapped by the spidery Matriarch, and Coraline unselfishly decides to help other children stitched to this purgatory. With a little help from a cat, whose Cheshire eyes reflect its grinning audacity, she begins a deadly game that could destroy her…or save her friends. Finally, Coraline’s world is eclipsed by her mundane existence but a small gift reveals that true love does indeed lurk beneath her mother’s hard veneer…and it’s this tiny victory that has changed her world. (B+)

message 2: by Jill (new)

Jill (wanderingrogue) | 51 comments Love the book and the movie. Definitely one for adults and kids (my four-year-old nephew loves it too). Gaiman has been quoted as saying something to the effect that he feels that the story is often "more disturbing for adults than it is for children." Whereas adults see it as a nightmarish story, kids tend to see it as an adventure that discusses real fears and insecurities that children possess.

And it is just a breathtakingly beautiful movie. Sadly, the DVD version has the old fashioned 3D effects and not the modern 3D effects that are becoming increasingly more common in children's cinema these days. The 3D in the theater was just amazing. But fortunately, 3D is in no way required to fully appreciate how beautifully everything is filmed, nor is it necessary for the story itself. My nephew and I watched it again on DVD in 2D, and it was just as good the second time 'round.

message 3: by Phillip (new)

Phillip i probably should have caught this on the big screen. i rented it and the 3-D glasses didn't really work....the colors were all blotchy, so i tossed them and watched it in 2-D.

but the story didn't rope me in at all. i felt like i knew what was going to come out of the character's mouths before the words ever emerged. i felt zero tension and didn't give a hoot whether coraline lived or died a spiritual death and lived the rest of eternity as a button-eyed clone.

so, yeah, i was really disappointed because usually i'm a sucker for this sort of thing. i wanted to like it but it just didn't hold my interest at all.

message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 238 comments Mod
I LOVED this movie (haven't read the book). I thought the stop-motion animation was gorgeous, and found the storyline very realistic re the real fears of children. I "just" saw it in 2-D, but on the big screen - and very glad I did. And, btw, liked this much more than Mirrormask (which also had a dual-mother theme, as well as striking visuals).

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