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February 8th, 2009 - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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February 8th, 2009


05:54 pm - Coraline Jones and the Raiddders of the Lost Art
(Title stolen and modified from toastandtea.)

When I read Coraline a few months ago, I was excited for the movie. Then early reviews were very good. Then regular reviews were also very good! So it seemed like I definitely had to see it. Especially in 3-D. Everyone raved about the 3-D.

OMG YOU GUYS YOU HAVE TO SEE CORALINE IN 3-D.

We seem to be living in a 3-D renaissance. Before the movie, we were treated to three 3-D trailers: Up!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Monsters vs. Aliens. Are all animated movies going to be in 3-D now? It's going to be irritating to have to pay two bucks more, but it could totally be worth it. This isn't the sort of thing that works as well at home.

I'd never seen a real 3-D movie before. My main experience with 3-D was all those silly movies at theme parks where things jump out of the screen all the time. But what I discovered is that the real power of 3-D is not having things come out of the screen but to have depth going into the screen. There are very few things coming out of the screen in Coraline; in fact, the biggest "Whooooooa" moment is the credits cookie. (Even the credits themselves are cooler in 3-D.) The reason people are calling Coraline the greatest 3-D movie ever made is the depth. Stop-motion animation is made from physical, three-dimensional objects, but they lose the third dimension when projected on the screen. Unless you're projecting in 3-D. So with your special glasses on, everything looks real. It honestly looks like you're watching a stage show. There are also moments of especially impressive depth like the tunnel into the Other World, which appears to stretch for yards into the screen.

Besides the 3-D effects, the movie of course looks great, if you're into Henry Selick's style (The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach). I liked Coraline's character design, especially the anime-heroine blue hair. And the way her mouth is always sort of smirking. Stop-motion is really something, though. I cannot believe people actually made all that and photographed it. There's no CG, really? It's so hard to believe when you watch it. I mean, that is the tastiest-looking puppet food I have ever seen. The landscapes are colorful and interesting, and the disintegration of the Other World is AWESOME. I always pictured the Other World as much more drab, though. I could have read it wrong. Because obviously, the Other World is supposed to be more ideal than the real world in order to appeal to Coraline in the first place.

The voice acting is surprisingly good as well. The voice actors are all practically unrecognizable. Except Keith David, because he's instantly recognizable. It took me a few minutes to hear Ian McShane under his Russian accent. And no one else sounds like themselves; they sound like the characters. The music is pretty good as well, utilizing a creepy children's choir, but I was disappointed that they didn't incorporate the singsong "We will be here when you rise and we will be here when you fall" rhymes.

I read the book all in one day in November, so the plot details weren't fresh in my mind, but the movie does generally hold to the plot of the book, with some minor tweaks of course. I feel like the subplot with the three ghost children got short shrift, but I liked the way they tied it into Wybie's grandmother's missing twin sister. The major tweak, of course, is the addition of Wybie, a neighbor boy for Coraline to talk to for expository purposes. And while he works fine in the context of the movie and doesn't even come close to ruining it, he is my least favorite part of the adaptation. Because for me, the whole appeal of Coraline the character and Coraline the story is that Coraline is alone. She's curious and danger-seeking and clever all by herself, and she doesn't need a boy to save her. Only a cat. Thankfully, Wybie isn't as constant a companion as I feared he might be, but he's still there occasionally, which is a little annoying (Coraline thinks he's annoying too, so we're good). Plus, Wybie's obviously there to appeal to little boys who won't see a movie about a girl, and that's dumb. Girls are cute, idiots.

If you wanted to see Coraline, you've probably already seen it or made plans to see it. If you haven't, I definitely recommend seeing it in 3-D. It's quite a unique moviegoing experience.
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Current Music: Ash - There's a Star
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