Coraline!

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.

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28 responses to “Coraline!”

  1. maroon5gurl88 says :

    I took a film class where we watched the movie, read the book, and then read the graphic novel (not sure if you knew…there’s a graphic novel). Each medium is distinctly different which I enjoyed. I enjoyed the comic more because the movie seems to make Coraline a bit wimpy, she never truly appreciates her family at the end, she just loves them because the other family is so disturbing. In the comic that’s not necessarily the case.

    • Tanya M says :

      There’s a graphic novel?! Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I’m going to have to get that. πŸ™‚
      Yep, that’s what I was talking about. And the whole well incident at the end. That didn’t need changing! That was Coraline’s fight, damn it.

  2. kford2007 says :

    Loved both the book and the movie. It really has a Tim Burton feel to it. I loved the animation and I completely get what you said about Disney films being too ‘clean’. They’re too perfect. Coraline reminded me a lot of Burton’s The Corpse Bride and James and the Giant Peach. Very interesting, very entertaining and dark. I agree with the age assessment, too. 8 is definitely the youngest I’d go for the book or the movie.

    • Tanya M says :

      I didn’t know James and the Giant Peach was made into a movie! I’ve read it, though, and you can’t sugarcoat a Roald Dahl novel, you just can’t. I agree with you on The Corpse Bride comparison, and if James and the Giant Peach has been handled the way these two have, I’m definitely going to have to watch it. πŸ™‚

  3. jennieflower says :

    I haven’t read the book but I really enjoyed the film when I saw it at the cinema. It was quite chilling and disturbing though; it freaked me out ever so slightly so I don’t know if I could have watched it as a child. The animation was amazing as well.

    • Tanya M says :

      I know what you mean. And the movie is creepier than the book. I’d have loved to watch+read this when I was a kid, but I don’t think I’d have been able to handle it. Brr.

  4. pmjwillis says :

    I have the film sat on my planner ready to watch. I knew there was a book (you’ve always got to read the book first!) but I didn’t know there was a graphic novel. That seems more fitting somehow *hunts on amazon* πŸ™‚

    • Tanya M says :

      I know, I know. But I had no idea there was a book when I first watched it! I must have missed the “Based on the book by Neil Gaiman” at the beginning. 😦
      I’m guessing you’ve got a whole Gaiman fest planned as well – Neverwhere and Sandman? (If yes, might I suggest leaving the Sandman series for last? That’s the one that blows your brains out)

      • pmjwillis says :

        Certainly Neverwhere. As for Sandman I’m still getting my head round the Graphic Novel genre (I like the idea, but have yet to put my bid toe in!). Like most things in my life, once I get over the first step I’m lost forever…!

        • Tanya M says :

          I’m addicted to graphic novels now. So far, there’s only been ONE that I haven’t liked. Which is amazing, really. When you decide to take the plunge, try Fables? The entire series is excellent – it’s all about the characters from children’s fairy-tales (Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf, and the like) trying to live in present day New York. But, of course, it isn’t as simple as that.
          I’m reading I Kill Giants at the moment, and thoroughly enjoying it. Will you put up a list of the graphic novels you’re planning to read sometime?

          • pmjwillis says :

            Fables. I’m taking all this on board!

            I think there will be a post soon re: Graphic Novels. I have been compiling a list via paper so I think it appropriate to migrate it onto the blog!

  5. Grace says :

    I haven’t read the book yet, but my boyfriend and I watched the movie and both of us loved it. It’s got that slightly dark slightly creepy but still magical feel to it.

    • Tanya M says :

      And that applies to Neverwhere as well, doesn’t it? I love how he balances the darkness in his books with just the right pinch of magic. Or maybe it’s the other way around. πŸ™‚

  6. 1 book 1 movie says :

    I enjoyed the visual affects of the film. The colors, the dark vs. light. But it sounds like I have to start reading Gaiman!

  7. mywithershins says :

    I loved the film but didn’t realize that it was based on a book (or that there was a graphic novel). Thanks for your insight on both! πŸ™‚

    • Tanya M says :

      There’s something perfect about Coraline being made into a graphic novel. Very fitting, I think. If you do get a chance to read it before I do, I’d love to hear what you have to say about it. πŸ™‚

  8. cherylmahoney says :

    I read the book and then watched the movie–enjoyed both of them, and do love the way they bring this creepy, nightmare-world to life. Disney and Pixar are good comfort-movies, but it is fun to see an animated film with a bit more grit to it.

    • Tanya M says :

      Exactly! I’d have been very upset if this was one of those shiny-happy movies. I don’t think Gaiman would have let that happen, though.

  9. lynnsbooks says :

    I love this movie. It is so visually pleasing with such great imagination and yet creepy and scary as well! I also hadn’t realised there was a book (ditto for the Stardust film/book). I was about to buy this only the other day but decided to wait – I’ve got a huge, slightly daunting stack of books, including one of Gaiman’s, and I think if I add any more they’ll become lost and forgotten.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

    • Tanya M says :

      That’s what’s threatening to happen to me. πŸ˜›
      I finally decided to stop picking up new books and read the ones I already had, but then I saw Gaiman+Reaves’ Interworld in the store. I didn’t even know it existed. So, of course, I had to go ruin the plan by reading it. πŸ˜‰

  10. onwindydays says :

    Ok, first off…how have you not seen this before?! πŸ˜› This movie I only watched because my younger brother had a field trip to the movies one day and I decided to go along since I usually help out with that kind of stuff. I had doubts at first…but overall the movie really left a good impression on me. I’m super picky with movies haha. But Coraline really surprised. Was not expecting it to be any sorts of creepy, but it was good. I haven’t read the book though…

    • Tanya says :

      Exactly! I watched the movie a while ago, but I just got around to reading the book. Loved both. πŸ™‚
      I had no idea Gaiman wrote for children – not to the extent that I’ve discovered he does, that is. He’s got one that’s called “The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish”. πŸ˜›

  11. johnandrewfuller says :

    So, I saw this movie opening night which also happened to be the grand unveiling of the new (old?) 3D technology. This movie still it has, BY FAR, made the most of the new 3D technology (I think 9 is in 2nd place) of any movie I have seen since 2009. Layers of rain, cool effects, etc. Awesome stuff. Oh, and it’s based on a family moving to Oregon; I’m from Oregon, hence, it is even better. I think Coraline should win some sort of Best Never Watched Movie award a la Braveheart.

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