Maybe I should turn this blog into a Neil Gaiman fan-site. Just saying.
I stumbled across the movie (long before I’d ever known about Gaiman) after a friend told me I just had to watch it. Why did I have to watch it, you ask? Because while I love Disney and Pixar movies (when they work together and individually), they’re always too..clean. You know? I watch them because they’re fun and there’s something slightly addictive about them (I’ve seen The Jungle Book and Aladdin more than twenty times, I think. And Monsters Inc. And ..well, you get the message), but the tiny voice in my head complains about how shiny and perfect everything is. With Coraline, however, even if you aren’t familiar with Gaiman’s work, you are aware of just how different it is from the very first minute.
Just look at that. Isn’t it beautiful?
The animation is absolutely incredible. It’s quirky and odd in a brilliant way and even though the story is responsible for sucking you into Coraline’s world, a part of you is constantly marvelling about how visually stunning everything is. Why aren’t more movies like this?
Imagine my disappointment when I found out it was based on a book. After I had finished watching it.
When I did pick up the book sometime in the last week, I was pleasantly surprised. While not as detailed and complex (verbally) as his other works, this man sure can pull off a good children’s novel. I don’t know why I was surprised, really, I guess I just didn’t expect someone who could do a Sandman could do a Coraline. Even if I had already watched the movie.
I’ve got an issue with a few changes that the film made (for those of you who’ve seen and read this, you know what I’m taking about), but in the interest of remaining spoiler-free, I’m going to have to stay quiet about it. On the whole, though, this is a book that is somehow enhanced if you read it and watch the movie. Gaiman’s written it in a way that makes the book thoroughly enjoyable on its own, but also translates well onto film. And normally I wouldn’t admit this, but I’ll have to make an exception here — I sort-of-maybe-kinda like the movie a little more than I like the book. Please watch it before you decide to blast my door off its hinges and attack me for saying that?
Final verdict: I love a strong female protagonist – and Coraline makes a pretty great one. If you’ve got a daughter or a niece, I’d strongly suggest reading it to her. Although you might have to deal with the fact that she’s going to be staring at your eyes for quite a while, checking for signs that it’s been replaced by a button. Oh, and please don’t stop mid-way and ask her to go to sleep — there is no way she is going to be able to. A few hugs and I-love-you-s might also be necessary. Don’t worry, though. Gaiman has dialled down the creepy (for the most part), but I don’t recommend reading this to anyone below the age of eight. And please, please, please watch the movie.