Yes, I realise this is not a documentary. Today’s film is a special request by my roommate’s sister Alma who has been visiting from Finland. I originally had this flick pencilled in for next Friday but we brought it forward. Hope you don’t mind.
Five words that mean wonderful.
Coraline Jones is an 11 year-old girl who has just moved with her parents to the town of Ashland, Oregon. In the converted mansion where they rent an apartment, Coraline finds a small door that opens to a brick wall. Waking in the night, she discovers a tunnel in place of the wall that leads to The Other World, where everything is almost like home but fun, where her other parents are attentive and entertaining, and everyone has black buttons for eyes. Of course not everything is as wonderful as it seems, and the Other Mother has a plan for Coraline…
Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s novel, Henry Selick’s film is a landmark in stop-motion animation. The story is good enough to work in any other medium, but there is an other-worldliness in Selick’s use of puppets – much like in Jan Svankmajer’s Alice – that magnifies the inherent creepiness of the events that surround young Coraline, resulting in a film that is both beautiful and disturbing in equal measure. The voice cast are superb throughout, in particular Dakota Fanning as the fearlessly inquisitive heroine and Teri Hatcher in the dual roles of mother and Other Mother.
That’s two animated flicks in two days now, and both have been fantastic although they couldn’t be any more different. When it comes to reviewing supposed “family films” in future, I have a new pair of yardsticks.