Feb 14, 2009


Coraline is a 3D adventure brought to the screen by the mind that has delivered us James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the under appreciated Monkeybone. However, you wouldn't know this because Tim Burton's name has been put on two out of three of his masterworks. Henry Selick is a man who does every bit of slave labor and it treated with the idea of being generally unknown. Hell, until a couple years ago, I'd thought that Tim Burton actually directed both James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Shame on me for not recognizing the talent that could never be the same director as of The Corpse Bride.

Coraline is a film released marketed solely as a three dimensional motion picture blowout. On each of the 3D films being released, a slew of animated film trailers accompany the print promoting the new escapades of the theatrical experience while spilling out of the screen. It's a form of oblivious shameful promotion for something that can only do magic for certain genres. Coraline, in question, is a marvelous film but as previously pointed out by Fox, the "depth" adds annoyance to the visual splendor and only impedes the dark, morose effect of Neil Gaiman's horror tale of puberty. Coraline would best be viewed in a home theater of choice rather than a dark auditorium filled with sniveling brats talking aloud, denying the influx of manners.

This fairy tale follows a girl who's just bored with it all after moving into an apartment with her dreary mother and father. Like most children, Coraline is blind to the fact that she is loved and seeks out counsel in another world that she discovers through a miniature door. Like Alice, she discovers marvelous wonders but the truth is that it's all a facade put on upon a witch of sorts. The witch aspect of the film comes on upon as a tedious afterthought that's never exploited to an acceptable level. You'll hear mention of her, her purpose, and her legacy, but you'll get nothing more than that. Concerning my reception to the film, Coraline is an animated blend of Silent Hill and Alice in Wonderland.

To provide raw support, figuratively and metaphysically, a sidekick called Wybie is introduced early on sporting a mask reminiscent of Tim Burton's Batman Returns goon's. It's only revealed at the end that he is in fact black, by sight of his crusted Aunt Jemima lookalike grandmother. He puts up as a good supporting character and defeats the purpose of such by having his own unequivocal charm and his uncanny ability to deal with the nagging personality of Coraline. Seeing as he doesn't appear in the story by Neil Gaiman, he revealed that this character was needed or else Coraline would have spent the duration of the film talking to herself. In Mike Leigh's Naked, there was a line that reminded me greatly of Coraline's struggle to cure boredom.

Louise: So what happened, were you bored in Manchester?
Johnny: Was I bored? No, I wasn't fuckin' bored. I'm never bored. That's the trouble with everybody - you're all so bored. You've had nature explained to you and you're bored with it, you've had the living body explained to you and you're bored with it, you've had the universe explained to you and you're bored with it, so now you want cheap thrills and, like, plenty of them, and it doesn't matter how tawdry or vacuous they are as long as it's new as long as it's new as long as it flashes and fuckin' bleeps in forty fuckin' different colors. So whatever else you can say about me, I'm not fuckin' bored.

Repeat after me - Coraline is not for children. In no way, shape, or form, has this movie been created to appease the hungry eyes of voracious dwarfs. This film highlights phantasmagorical carnivals and stage plays featuring rabid mice, naked obese ladies, dead children that have been kidnapped by a foreign power (i.e. sexual trafficking), and many other meandering surrealist touches. Coraline is a worthy experience for those who enjoy stop-motion or even just the presence of her devoted martyrdom for her parent's sake. It's still a bit disappointing to discover that the hell her parents went through wasn't remembered. If you enjoy every bit of animation and surrealism as you can swallow, as well as appreciating amazing voice work from Keith David, then Coraline is a knockout and no exception from Selick's other works. This comes highly recommended as both a film and a message promoting anti-materialism.



Anonymous said...

i agree that this film is quite magnificent, but why did they have to get british scum like dawn french, jennifer saunders, and ian mcshane to do some of the voices, that almost spoiled the movie for me, this practice of importing pathetic, talentless, crappy, british scumbag actors and actresses to appear in and there-by pollute and ruin otherwise marvellous american films with their hideous presence must stop now.

Anonymous said...

i whole-heartedly agree with everything jervaise said, and just a word about the lushious dakota fanning, she`s just coming up for 15 so she`s a bit older than i like them already but she is still a gorgeous little sexpot and i would very much like to bugger her senseless.