Thursday, July 9, 2009

Coraline


Year 2009 hasn’t been as entertaining in comparison to previous years, when I think of the movie industry. Only a small amount of movies managed to arouse any positive emotions such as Ice Age 3 or Watchmen, which although somewhat tedious was visually stunning. I have waited so long for “Coraline” to be released in my part of the world that it was painful, but it was definitely worth it. Visual arts and inventive new niches in the movie industry always interested me and give me joy in general, so I felt that “Coraline” would be epic, apart from it being based on a novella by Neil Gaiman, which on its own accredits the movie as a must-see.

The story follows young Coraline Jones as she moves with her family to Pink Palace Apartments in a new town, where Coraline is out of her element and environment. Her parents are overworked and preoccupied and it seems that Coraline’s family is quite dysfunctional or at least atypical. Left to her own devices, Coraline takes to explore her neighbors, all sporting weird character and bios like Mr. Bobinski, a retired acrobat, who trains a circus of mice, or Misses Spink and Forcible, retired actresses with a knack for fortune telling. One night however everything changes when Coraline finds herself in a parallel world simply called the Other World, where she meets her Other Mother and her Other Father, who are the dream versions of her real parents. This world is colorful and welcoming of Coraline, full of magic and fun enchantments, until the façade crumbles and the horrible truth is revealed about the nature of this world is revealed.

What I liked best about the movie is that it’s a literal feast for the eyes. Amazing 3-D and stop animation techniques bring out a whimsical, magical and creepy vision to life. I would have loved it, even if the actors weren’t as good or if the writing and story lacked, simply because the quality of the production is literally spell-binding. But it’s the mixture of all the different elements that make this movie a favorite of multiple critics. First we have Gaiman’s exquisite writing and imagination to create something so different and fresh and after that there is also the cast of actors that gave their voices. Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher are two names with a lot of recognition and experience in the movie business with suited voices for this kind of work and the result is one believable and endearing protagonist and a very creepy antagonist. The supporting actors though their names don’t ring any bells at the time being perform accordingly with the same manner of professionalism.

Endearing is also the fact that the audience of all ages can identify themselves with the movie and its messages. It is a feat to incorporate any morale or life lesson into a children’s movie without making it sound preachy. What “Coraline” accomplishes is beyond. I felt that there were two set of messages, one for the young viewers and one for the older audience. As far as I can judge to kids the movie says that appearance often lies and even though your parents seem to do things against your wishes and desires, they do care, love and think about what’s best for you. For the adults this would be taken further with the quote “all that glitters” is not gold. Changing people or wishing people were changed to one’s ideals can never lead to gratification and one is not in position to pick out parents or who life decides to introduce a person to, but there are certainly lessons to be learned from whatever cards life deals.

5 comments:

Bookfool said...

I'd have to agree with you -- this has been a dull year for movie releases. I haven't seen Coraline. Thanks for the review. I'll definitely look for it, now. The book didn't thrill me, but it sounds so good.

T.D. Newton said...

The trailer creeped me out because of the button eyes, but this looked good. One of my friends wrote a blog about what an achievement it was, so I've been meaning to check the film out for a while. Still creeps me out, though.

Harry Markov: daydream said...

Bookfool: I don't know about you, but I think I would probably worship the written thing. This is totally up my alley and made my heart sing.

TD: It's downright creepy and it will send shivers at some moments that were quite outlandlish and morbid and yeah creepy.

Bellezza said...

I like the lessons you gleaned from this story, which frankly, left me disappointed. I didn't even see the film, which many of the children in my class enjoyed.

I'm wondering if you've read Blindness by Jose Saramago? It's off the subject of Coraline, of course, but I thought of you when I read it because of its eerie almost sci-fi quality in terms of a blindness epidemic and what people do as a result of it.

Harry Markov: daydream said...

I guess everybody receives a story differently and I have to say that the visual interpretation stunned. Perhaps this is the difference as I have yet to read the story.

No I haven't read the novel, but I have seen the movie, which doesn't disappoint. The ending was quite sad.

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